Transgender Presence Day protests held amid backlash
MONTPELIER, Vt. –
Thousands of people rallied across the country on Friday as part of Transgender Display Day to advocate for transgender rights and their resilience amid what many condemn as an environment. increasingly hostile school.
Transgender rights advocates have gathered at government headquarters across the country, at the Reflecting Pool of the Capitol in Washington, DC and at other locations to mark the first day of solidarity. was announced more than a decade ago.
Chant, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!” Many people at the state building in Montpelier, Vermont, carried pride flags or carried posters with messages like “yay gay” or “protect transgender children”.
High school-age transgender youth stand in front of the Vermont crowd and tell about their struggles with their gender identity at a time when many across the country refuse to acknowledge them.
Charlie Draugh, a 17-year-old high school student from Chisago, Minnesota, who attends a boarding school in Vermont, said he is angry that groups are trying to take control of his life and turn him into a political pawn.
“My life is not your argument,” Draugh said. “It’s not a political issue. I didn’t hurt anyone and I certainly didn’t hurt myself.”
The protests come as Republican lawmakers across the US have pursued hundreds of proposals this year to roll back LGBTQ2S+ rights, especially transgender rights, including banning girls. transgender to participate in girls’ sports, ban transgender people from using restrooms consistent with their gender identity, and require schools to name transgender students — require them to be identified identified by name at birth.
“We’re not a new idea. We’re not a new group,” said Penelope Torres, who traveled from Chicago to Washington, DC, where more than 1,000 people marched from Union Station to the reflection lake. know. “We’ve always been here, we’ve always been part of the community, and it’s time to start recognizing that and protecting us equally.”
At least 11 states have now enacted laws restricting or prohibiting sex-determined care for minors: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Federal judges have blocked enforcement of the law in Alabama and Arkansas, and nearly two dozen states are considering bills this year to limit or ban care.
On Friday, President Joe Biden released a statement in support of Transgender Display Day. The president said transgender Americans deserve to be safe and supported in every community. He denounces what he calls hundreds of hateful and extremist state laws targeting transgender children and their families.
“Let me be clear: These attacks are un-American and must stop,” Biden said in a statement. “The bullying, discrimination and political attacks that transgender children face have exacerbated our national mental health crisis.”
Dana Kaplan, chief executive officer of Outright Vermont, the company that helped sponsor Friday’s event at the Vermont Statehouse, said the level of targeted hate against transgender youth is unprecedented.
“There are now more than 450 bills that are specifically targeting the LGBTQ community and trying to take away transgender children’s right to exist — when it comes to sports, right to health care. by their sex,” says Kaplan. “These are the basic pillars we all need to be able to live our lives, and for young transgender people, they are shouldering more than any young person has ever had to.”
According to the advocacy group GLAAD, International Transgender Display Day was created in 2010 by an advocate who criticized that most media coverage was more focused on violence against transgender people. are transgender people’s positive contributions to society. Advocates say it is important to improve transgender visibility because many voters and policymakers take actions that affect transgender lives without knowing transgender people. .
Aspen Overy, 19, of Burlington, who came out as transgender a few years ago, said they attended the Montpelier rally to show support for other transgender people.
“I think there is a myth about Vermont like this perfect, lovely little state,” Overy said. “But as many transgender children have said today, those kids still often face so much hatred and discrimination for living their lives and that’s not okay.”
Overy, a student at the University of Vermont, said they hope the protest will make it easier to support each other and build community among transgender people in Vermont.
“Also, I think it also provides a place for these people to feel cared for, which is so much needed and to feel welcome,” Overy said.
Mike Pesoli contributed from Washington, DC and Hannah Schoenbaum contributed from Raleigh, North Carolina.