In New York on Friday, hundreds joined a march organized by NYC Youth for Trans Rights to mark International Transgender Day of Visibility amid intensifying discrimination, violence and anti-trans laws pushed by Republicans. “We are here, we are queer, we’re not going anywhere. … You’re not going to get rid of us,” said Raven, a 17-year-old trans advocate and one of several participants who spoke to Democracy Now! producers Tey-Marie Astudillo and María Taracena about the safe space they were creating.
MARCHERS: Say it loud, say it clear: Trans lives are welcome here!
RAVEN: I’m Raven. My pronouns are they/he. I’m 17, and I’m from NYC Youth for Trans Rights.
It is so amazing to look around and see people like me that have had the same experiences as me, who know what it’s like to be trans. And it’s so great to just, you know, watch everybody be happy and be themselves in a safe place.
Everybody needs to know that we are here, we are queer, we’re not going anywhere. And if y’all don’t celebrate us, that’s a you problem. Like, we’re going to be who we are, and you’re not going to get rid of us.
I’m the happiest I’ve been in a really, really long time here in this space with these people. And I think that it’s so good for people who think that they’re alone to know that they have people out there, people fighting for them, people fighting with them, people on their side, because, like, a lot of them just don’t have that. They go through so, so, so much. And gathering around, being able to look at people and hug people and talk to people that are like them, is something that can really heal the heart.
It’s insane to me that people don’t want people to exist because of things that are not in their control. Like, it’s scary to live in a world where if I travel a couple hundred miles, like, I could die for being trans.
MARCHERS: Trans lives are under attack! What do we do? Stand up, fight back!
ELLE: My name is Elle. My pronouns are she/her. And I’m one of the organizers of this whole event.
Today is important, because, like, I mean, it’s in the name. You know, like, it’s our day of visibility, where we can get together and show that, like, we are people, that all of these bills that are being passed that are anti-trans and anti-trans healthcare literally kill us. Like, there’s no other way to describe it than, if you take that away, then you take away our ability to be seen. So, that’s why this is so important. It’s the one day of the year that we can get together and really show that we are people, we’re here.
All we normally face is hate and anger. That’s like kind of like 90% of our existence right now. That’s why it’s so important to, like — we recognize the bad, and we know that there are people out there that disagree or hate us even, but if we don’t have that time to uplift ourselves, then we’re just — we’re literally killing ourselves. Like, that’s it. We need to keep having this and keep having the fact that we are here and we are alive. And, I mean, just look at the amount of people we had today. Like, we are a big part of the population.
MARCHERS: No justice, no peace!
ALEX: My name is Alex. I use he/they. And I’m an organizer for NYC Youth for Trans Rights.
I want us to be able to go out and not be scared. I want us to just like live our lives normally as a cis person would. And I want that to not, like, seem — I want trans people to not seem like a bad thing. I want us to be recognized and known. And we’ve always been here. We’ve been here for years. We’ve been here for thousands of years, in other cultures. You can see trans people have been here. We never left. And it’s like, I don’t understand why people feel like they should disrupt or put bills out against us. It’s just like they want something to oppress, and they’re choosing us at this time.
So, imagine you grow up in a world where everyone says it’s not OK, and it’s not OK for you to be yourself, even though that’s just who you are. Like, it can mess people up. They can — it can lead to suicide, because they can’t get the gender-affirming care they need. I know Biden talked about trans lives like maybe a month ago for 13 seconds. Thirteen seconds is all us trans people got, and that is not OK.
MARCHERS: No justice, no peace! No justice, no peace!