Upwards of 1,000 people on Friday participated in a transgender rights march from Union Station to the U.S. Capitol. SMYAL Executive Director Erin Whelan; Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson and Japer Bowles, director of the D.C.
Mayor’s Office of LGBTQ Affairs, are among those who participated in the March for Queer and Trans Youth Autonomy that Queer Youth Assemble organized to coincide with the Transgender Day of Visibility.
Queer Youth Assemble advocates for young LGBTQ and intersex people. The group’s website notes it organized Transgender Day of Visibility marches across the country on Friday. “This march has reached so many people around the country because of our strength as individuals and as a community,” said Queer Youth Assemble Co-president Alia Cusolito at the beginning of a rally that took place in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool after the march. “This is a heavy time.
It’s a frightening time and a necessary time to speak up.” Samira Burnside, a 16-year-old trans woman from Tampa, Fla., spoke after Cusolito. “These last few months have been hard; hard for all of us,” said Burnside. “As Republicans swept into more seats than they held last year and another election cycle begins, transgenderism has become the battleground through which the cultural war finds itself reborn, more violent, more angry, more terrible.” Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth Executive Director Shaplaie Brooks noted “these attacks are strategic.” “Grown adults are bullying LGBTQ youth,” said Brooks.