People rally up to continue the fight for Trans liberation


Jesse Sutterley

A crowd gathers for a rally to stop violence against transwomen of color held at the Civic Center Plaza on the 25th of August 2015

Melanie Calimlim, Staff Member

The ongoing fight for transgender liberation continues as the Transgender Gender Variant Justice Intersex Project, also known as the TGJIP organization arranged a rally at the Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco to raise awareness of the violence the transgender community is going through.

The TGJIP organization strives to better the lives of transgender women in and out of prison, and to end the abuse and end the violation of their human rights.

People from various backgrounds assembled together holding posters that expressed the importance of transgender rights and the faces and names of those murdered in the past year. To put perspective in the crowd’s mind, they were told that the life expectancy of transgender women of color was only 35-years-old.

There has been an overwhelming amount of violence especially this year towards transgender women of color. It’s not okay at all by any means. Media outlets are reporting on the deaths and using the names that they were given at birth that’s not their preferred names anymore which is extremely disrespectful to those individuals who have passed,” says 22-year-old City College student, Nola McCue on how the amount of violence has escalated towards transgender women. “People are here today to just protest that violence and support trans women of color. Their lives matter and it’s just so important that people do this.”

Around 6 p.m., TGJIP had speakers from their own organization as well as transgender women, and cis-gender men who all gave their support and understanding of the difficulty of living as a transgender woman of color. “Silence is violence,” was chanted by the crowd explaining that silence gives way to the continuation of hate and carelessness to stand up for the basic rights that cis-gender people have had for years.

Miss Major, one of the speakers said, “This is important for the girls. This is not anything new. None of us are shocked about it. We’re just dismayed that it’s still happening. Again and again and again…if it doesn’t stop here, it will continue to grow and consume, and implode on all of us. Stand up for yourselves and stand up for the people who can’t.”

CCSF 18-year-old Ethnic studies major, Rexi Amaral, felt a sense of empowerment with the assembled audience, “I recently just started coming out as trans so seeing so many people here to support a movement that has been neglected for so long; it feels so empowering and amazing just to know that we have a community here,” she says.

Aside from commemorating the transgender women whose lives were taken, this rally was a call to action for people who are not solely part of the transgender community, but anyone, to help liberate transgender women of color from the injustices they have suffered.

As the day drew to a close, TGJIP member, Eva Alexander hopes that people realize the constant battle that they have been through living as Black transgender women. “It takes the cis-gender people to make a difference; for you guys to say something in our defense…it’s our turn to have a voice to say, hey, we are still here and we need our people to help.”

Like any oppressed group, the transgender community has faced violence and discrimination for decades. This pattern will continue to plague the community if people remain stagnant. However, after this rally, the TGJIP organization hopes that cis gender men and women become a voice in achieving transgender liberation.