Brooklyn Liberation March Brings Attention to Trans Youth

Trans Youth Brooklyn Liberation Rally and March with Queen Jean and Joel Rivera
Joel Rivera and Qween Jean lead the way.
Donna Aceto

For a second consecutive year, a large crowd of people donning white shirts marched in the historic Brooklyn Liberation demonstration — and this time the focus was placed squarely on transgender youth.

The June 13 event kicked off at Brooklyn Museum before continuing through the streets of Brooklyn, where folks set out to match the energy that was on display one year ago. The spotlight on trans youth seemed inevitable during a year when State Legislatures across the nation have sought to ban trans youth from participating in sports, curtail healthcare rights, and reactivate campaigns to impose transphobic bathroom policies. Last year’s record levels of deadly violence against transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary individuals carried into this year, with more than two dozen individuals suffering violent deaths so far in 2021.

Organizers described the event with a sense of urgency, calling it a “state of emergency” for trans youth, but it also served as a platform for the community to stand for other intersectional issues impacting transgender individuals as well as the broader LGBTQ community. Some of the leaders participating in the event included Qween Jean and Joel Rivera, who have spearheaded the weekly Stonewall Protests dating back to last summer.

According to flyers, the event was intended to help support the Stonewall Protests, as well as the Gworls, an organization that raises money to assist Black transgender people with housing; the Black Excellence Collective; Trans Lifeline; and Magic City Acceptance Center, a space for LGBTQ children in Birmingham, Alabama.

Marchers show their support for trans youth.Donna Aceto
An illustration of the late Marsha P. Johnson.Donna Aceto
Like last year, folks were asked to wear white at the Brooklyn Liberation march and rally.Donna Aceto
The lively atmosphere on the ground. Donna Aceto
Joel Rivera and Qween Jean on the stage.Donna Aceto
Attendees stand in solidarity with trans youth.Donna Aceto