“In Washington, D.C., there’ve been numerous attacks against the rights of trans people in particular and the LGBTQ community as a whole,” says Shawn Demmons, director of community engagement for this weekend’s National Trans Visibility March. “There’s an epidemic right now of murders of black trans women. There have been 19 trans women murdered in the U.S. [this year] and all of them have been black. I don’t hear about this anywhere, other than within our own communities.”
The march, Saturday, Sept. 28, is intended to get the message out about “the ways in which transgender people are marginalized in this country, the way that we feel like even the larger LGBTQ community, and the major media, is not responding,” Demmons says.
Demmons points a finger at the Trump administration for its part in fostering a culture of anti-LGBTQ and anti-trans animosity.
“There’s been a constant attack since this current Trump administration has been in leadership,” he says. “Holding the government hostage is a better way, I think, to describe it.”
On Friday, Sept. 27, the day before the march, organizers have planned a series of workshops focusing on trans-specific issues and an opening reception that includes the presentation of the Torch Awards, honoring the achievements of 16 trans and nonbinary people from across the country.
Saturday’s march kicks off with a program of speakers from 9 to 11 a.m. at Freedom Plaza. At 11, participants will march to the U.S. Capitol.
Thousands are expected to attend the historic event, which is drawing comparisons to the 1993 March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation.
Trade will host a party following the march, with proceeds from the sale of “Candy’s Cocktail” — a drink named after one of the characters on FX’s Pose — donated to the event.
“Someone that you love is probably trans and you may or may not know that,” says Demmons, who stresses the importance of allies participating as a way to stand up for their trans brothers and sisters. “This is our opportunity to come out, talk about the issues in our community, engage people, and give people in this community hope that we’re going to continue to fight for our rights.
“There are over a million trans people in this country and we will not be erased,” he adds. “We will continue to fight for our rights and we will win. No one can be free with others left behind so no one can be free. It’s incumbent upon our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters to step up.”
The National Trans Visibility March will take place on Saturday, Sept. 28 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., starting at Freedom Plaza, 1455 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. For more information, visit www.transmarchondc.org.