A vibrant crowd marched through Manhattan on March 31 in a show of support for trans youth on International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Some marchers prepared posters at Washington Square Park before the crowd stepped off at Union Square for a 5 p.m. march through the streets. Advocates held up a wide variety of signs expressing support for trans youth at a time when Republican state lawmakers are pushing anti-trans bills in many statehouses across the country. The legislative attacks are targeting youth across different areas of life ranging from sports to healthcare to bathrooms. Meanwhile, simultaneous attacks on broader educational systems are underway, with states like Florida — with its notorious “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” law — advancing widespread campaigns to erase LGBTQ people and people of color from classroom discussions and curtailing drag shows for baseless reasons.
The demonstration in Manhattan on Transgender Day of Visibility sought to undercut the momentum behind the transphobic sentiments reverberating across the nation. After stepping off, the crowd grew in size to around an estimated 1,000 people who chanted and carried signs in solidarity. There were some counter-protesters who tried to disrupt the event — one barged in front of a speaker hurling anti-trans remarks — but marshals and police escorted the individual out.
Among those on hand included many family members of trans youth as well as friends and others who simply sought to show support.
Transgender Day of Visibility was established in 2010 by Rachel Crandall, a trans advocate who serves as the executive director and co-founder of Transgender Michigan, in an effort to counteract the tendency of media outlets to focus primarily on violence against transgender individuals, according to GLAAD.