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D.C. events to commemorate International Transgender Day of Visibility

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www.washingtonblade.com

Trans USA National Pageantry and the National Center for Transgender Equality will hold a series of events in D.C. on Sunday in commemoration of the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

The TRANSform the Vote rally will take place on the National Mall. Organized by the Queer Equity Institute and NCTE, the event aims to celebrate trans liberation, combat violence and promote civic engagement.

Elected officials, activists and artists are expected to participate. Queer Equity Institute Executive Director Leigh Finke and NCTE Executive Director Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen discussed the rally and how it will empower the trans community and promote advocacy. “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,” said Heng-Lehtinen. “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.” Finke, Minnesota’s first openly trans lawmaker who wrote the state’s groundbreaking trans refuge bill, echoed Heng-Lehtinen. “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,” said Finke. “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.

This rally is meant to highlight and encourage folks to use those tools in their communities.” Confirmed speakers and participants aside from Finke and Heng-Lehtinen include: Minnesota state Rep.

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