Metro Weekly

Transgender Rights Rally to Be Held on National Mall on March 31

The "TRANSform the Vote" rally will advocate for greater transgender political engagement and increased transgender visibility.

Illustration: Todd Franson

The Queer Equity Institute and the National Center for Transgender Equality will host a national rally on the National Mall advocating for increased transgender visibility and encouraging transgender people to stay politically engaged amid rising anti-LGBTQ sentiment. 

The “TRANSform the Vote” rally, scheduled for Sunday, March 31, coincides with National Day of Transgender Visibility, which celebrates transgender identity while also drawing attention to the poverty, discrimination, and violence that transgender people often face due to their gender identity.

Both NCTE and the Queer Equity Institute are expected to unveil plans to register people to vote, educate them about the issues, and engage them in the run-up to this year’s presidential election.

The upcoming election may prove a pivotal one for the transgender community. If past is prologue, Republicans, including GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, are likely to campaign on pushing anti-transgender policies and LGBTQ visibility once in office.

“From restricting access to medically necessary healthcare to denying trans students the opportunity to participate in sports, we have seen nationwide efforts to exclude trans people from society,” Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said in a statement. “TRANSform the Vote presents a historical moment for us to empower our community — casting our votes and participating in democracy is just one of many ways our community can advocate for the issues that matter to us!”

“Over the past few years we’ve watched again and again as ‘jokes’ became hate speech, hate speech became bills, bills became laws. And all the jokes, hate speech, and laws created an environment where transgender people are assaulted, beaten, and murdered,” Leigh Finke, the executive director of the Queer Equity Institute and the first out transgender legislator in Minnesota history, added.

“Some of the most important tools we have to fight back against these attacks is to change the culture through voting, running for office, and creating art and music that shift society,” Finke added. “This rally is meant to highlight and encourage folks to use those tools in their communities.”

The rally will feature several key speakers, including Minnesota Democratic State Rep. Alicia “Lish” Kozlowski (D-Duluth), a queer state lawmaker and one of the nation’s top advocates for Native trans and two-spirit people; Minneapolis City Council Member Andrea Jenkins, the nation’s first out Black transgender woman elected to public office; actress, artist, and human rights advocate Angelica Ross; and Monica Beverly Hillz, a former contestant from RuPaul’s Drag Race and the first person to come out as transgender on national television. 

Other participants include Shear Avory, one of the nation’s leading transgender youth activists, and Merrique Jenson, the founder of the Kansas City-based Transformations, a trans-led nonprofit focused on leadership development among transgender communities of color.

World-renowned visual artist Cassils will create a piece of art featuring rally attendees to commemorate the event. 

The rally will feature art displays, performances, and booths highlighting the work of community organizations from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia that can connect attendees with resources to register to vote or become civically involved.

The TRANSform the Vote rally will kick off from the National Mall, along 7th Street between Madison Dr. NW and Jefferson Dr. SW, at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 31. For more information, visit or RSVP here.

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