Trans Day of Action Kicked Off Big Weekend

Annual gathering, held June 28, demanded justice for transgender victims of violence

The rally focused on the violence against transgender women, not only from brutal attacks on the outside but also in the custody of local police and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
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The annual Trans Day of Action — a rally and march to raise the visibility of transgender and gender nonconforming folks and the challenges they face — took place on a sunny, summery Friday afternoon June 28.

The event, which drew many hundreds to Washington Square Park hours before the Pride Rally opened near the Stonewall Inn, is organized by the Audre Lorde Project’s TransJustice initiative.

Particular attention this year was focused on the ongoing epidemic of lethal violence against transgender women, particularly women of color. According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 11 transgender women have been murdered in 2019, following a year in which 26 transgender people died violent deaths. There also been several recent deaths of transgender immigrant women in the custody of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement. On June 7, Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco, an inmate at Rikers Island, died while being held in “restrictive housing,” a confinement only marginally more dehumanizing than solitary confinement.

At least one sign in the crowd read, “No Justice, No Pride.”

Kellen Gold and Laurie Cotter, longtime members of Rise and Resist.
Many activists emphasized that there must be justice to make pride meaningful.
A T-shirt recalls an historic episode of queer feminist visibilty.
Trans folks drew on their unity to be themselves.
Longtime activist Jay O’Toole.
Tanya Asapansa-Johnson Walker, Mya Leilani Vazquez, and Melissa Sklarz have all played key leadership rols in the transgender community and beyond.
Carrying the message with the Transgender Flag colors.
The crowd in Washington Square Park on Friday drew attention to the epidemic of violence against trans women.
Ahead of Pride Weekend, the Trans Day of Action was an opportunity for the transgender community and allies to represent specfically in support of a community too long held off to the sidelines by the broader LGBTQ community.
Trans is beautiful.
Amidst the demands for justice, there were also plenty of smiles on Friday.
Updated 6:56 pm, July 2, 2019
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