After successfully overturning bans on gender-affirming care for trans adolescents in West Virginia and Wyoming, LGBTQ activists are taking to the streets to protest the concerted legislative attacks on transgender individuals across the country.
Trans activists are planning protests for Trans Day of Visibility on March 31 and Trans Day of Vengeance on April 1. They have arranged rallies at capitol buildings across the nation. The state capitols of Tucson, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, New York City, and Georgia, which recently became the tenth state to outlaw gender-affirming medical therapy, are among the locations where activists have organized protests.
Trans Radical Activist Network, a group planning a Washington, D.C. march to resist trans genocide, stated in a tweet, “We are here and we will not allow ourselves to be erased.”
Erin Reed, an independent journalist and transgender activist, told Truthout that a long tradition of LGBTQ resistance influences the protests.
She noted that mutual aid is one of the ways people are reacting to the anti-trans law and that the hashtag #DIYHRT is currently trending. I’m also observing strategies that predate the ACT-UP era. The strategies we’re seeing now are more resolute and resistive to the adoption of these policies.
A grassroots direct action organization called the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) was established in the 1980s to promote AIDS research, treatment, and legislative change. The leaders of ACT UP are well known for staging public “die-ins” to highlight their demands, targeting politicians, Wall Street, the Catholic Church, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Since anti-trans bills are being passed in state legislatures around the nation, transgender activists have gone back to these strategies.
This legislative session, state legislators specifically targeted trans and LGBTQ kids, passing “Don’t Speak Gay” laws, gender-affirming care bans, and restrictions on the teaching of queer history and LGBTQ social movements in schools.
The entirely erroneous estimate that 80 percent of trans children will eventually detransition has been used by far-right MPs to support restrictions on gender-affirming therapy. Nevertheless, the most current data demonstrates that these assertions are nothing more than made-up right-wing talking points because more than 97 percent of trans adolescents continue to identify as trans as adults.
While studies demonstrate that access to such care reduces transgender youth suicidality by 73 percent and serious depression by 60 percent, half of all transgender youth have lost or are at risk of losing access to gender-affirming therapy.
The Trevor Project reports that 86 percent of trans and nonbinary adolescents and 71 percent of LGBTQ youth say discussions of anti-LGBTQ legislation in state legislatures have had a detrimental impact on their mental health.
Reed wrote on Twitter, “I worry about the suicide rates and mental health disaster this will cause the community.”
Children all around the country have demonstrated against these regulations by walking out of class at schools in places like Morgantown, West Virginia; Iowa City; Orlando, Florida; and Denver, Colorado.
At a walkout in Colorado in support of LGBTQ students in Florida, Alex Pacheco, a 15-year-old high school freshman, told 9News, “We wanted to fight to express support for other individuals who are like us.” “We must continue moving forward rather than backward.”
In most states, marches for LGBTQ autonomy have been organized by the Queer Youth Assembly, a queer youth-led organization that supports LGBTQ persons under the age of 25.
The group posted a petition on its website with the message, “We demand an end to violence and hatred directed at all individuals.” “We beg for compassion and direct action to help our queer, trans, BIPOC, and disabled communities who survive every day in spite of the society we live in,” the statement reads.
Trans teenagers in Colorado conducted a march for queer and trans youth autonomy on Friday at the Denver State Capitol, demanding for a society that protects the security, freedom, and joy of queer children. Many gay kids, local teachers, drag queens, Club Q massacre survivors, and sympathizers participated in the march. Students demanded LGBTQ rights from Denver’s East High School, where several students had perished as a result of gun violence in recent weeks.
One speaker during the march, who was 14 years old, said, “Youth like me are under attack around the nation.” “Aren’t we entitled to the same liberties and privileges as those who enact laws? Please leave us one child if they are the future.
Ophelia Peaches, a drag queen and high school student from Aurora, spoke in addition. She is 18 years old.
We have to shout, she said. We must speak clearly enough for the children in the red states who are being silenced to hear us. We’re here, and we’re strong.
Additional speakers included Rep. Leslie Herod (D), Colorado’s first openly Gay Black legislator, and Rep. Brianna Titone (D), the state’s first trans lawmaker who recently introduced legislation designating Colorado as a “refuge state” for trans adolescents seeking gender-affirming care.
Every single day, our rights are being violated, according to Herod. “You are forced to endure the anguish and hatred that is pushed upon you every day, even as you stand up and fight back.”
This year has seen the murder of a large number of LGBTQ people, many of whom were transgender and Black. A report on the “epidemic of violence” against transgender and nonbinary individuals was published by the Human Rights Campaign last year. In 2022, at least 34 transgender persons perished, including several in the Club Q shooting.
The names of numerous members of the trans community who had been murdered were read aloud by queer youth organizers at the Denver demonstration.
One of the organizers replied, “It’s not fair. “I don’t want to hear the names of the 50 people who are killed every year just because they were gay. We must struggle.
They pointed at the Capitol and said, “We want to be loud.” “We want them to pay attention. That is the starting point for change.