March organizers to city, cops: ‘June 23 Trans Day of Action will happen!’

By LeiLani Dowell

Trans and gender non-conforming (TGNC) people of color and their allies held a news conference on the steps of New York City Hall June 20 to announce plans for the Trans Day of Action for Social and Economic Justice on June 23—as well as to protest the decision by the New York Police Department and Mayor Michael Bloomberg to deny organizers a permit to march down Eighth Avenue.

The news conference was organized by TransJustice, a TGNC people of color org anizing group of the Audre Lorde Project, which is also organizing the march.

Gael Guevara, a TransJustice working group member, opened the news conference, describing the Trans Day of Action as a “day where trans and gender non-conforming people will come out to the streets. We will be speaking out against police brutality, the lack of economic opportunities for our community, our lack of sensitive and accessible health care, and more.”

Guevara noted the significance of the march route denied by the city: “Eighth Avenue houses a lot of our social service agencies. It is an important place in the city for us and we have to be a part of it.”

Organizers also plan to take the march to the Human Resources Administration office on 34th Street to protest repeated discrimination against the community in provision of public assistance. Guevara said, “We will demand that the HRA respect our community.”

Last, organizers plan to march across 42nd Street to honor the life of Amanda Milan, a 25-year-old African-American transgender woman who was brutally murdered in an intersection near Port Authority Bus Terminal.

The march comes at a time when hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bi and trans people have increased in the city.

Lourdes Hunter described the hardships she faces due to gender oppression and her determination to resist: “Since my tumultuous journey to New York City four years ago, I have faced everything from sexual harassment to the denial of social services. Now TGNC people are being ostracized again by the Bloomberg administration. But as long as I have breath, I will march and rally, whenever and wherever my community decides to. Trans Justice will continue to fight whenever and wherever injustice occurs.”

Rickke Mananzala of FIERCE—Fabu lous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment—applauded TransJustice for following the legacy of the Stonewall uprising: “What happened on June 28, 1969, did not happen in a vacuum. It happened in a moment of struggle against all injustice.”

Imani Henry of TransJustice closed the rally by first thanking the many allied organizations that had come to support the news conference, saying, “This is a moment of solidarity.” He also raised the Trans march set to occur concurrently in San Francisco, which will honor the 40th anniversary of the rebellion at the Compton Cafeteria, an uprising of LGBT people against police brutality and public discrimination that predated Stonewall.

He ended by saying: “For the NYPD to deny permits for this march is an outrage. We have to hold them accountable—they set the tone and give the green light to the bashings that occur around the city by their actions. To deny TransJustice the right to march is furthermore an attack on all progressive movements, and all social activists in this city. We say to the city: The Trans Day of Action will happen, this year, next year and every year!”

Organizations participating in the news conference included Critical Resistance, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, International Action Center, Jews for Racial and Eco no mic Justice, Queers for Economic Justice, Q-Wave, Sylvia Rivera Law Pro ject, Uhuru-Wazobia and the Urban Justice Center—Peter Cicchino Youth Project.

For more information and to get involved in the march, please contact info4tdoa@alp.org or 718-596-0343, ext 18.

Dowell spoke on behalf of the International Action Center at the news conference.


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