Black Transgender Lives Matter Rally Gathered Thousands In Brooklyn Yesterday

Photo via David L. Bowles, @aquanasium, with permission.

PROSPECT HEIGHTS – Thousands of people in masks and white clothing rallied outside the Brooklyn Museum and then took part in a silent march for Black transgender lives.

Earlier this week, two Black transgender women, Riah Milton from Ohio and Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells from Pennsylvania, were killed. This same week, the Trump administration revoked protections for LGBTQ+ people in the health care system. Yesterday afternoon, thousands of people shouted enough is enough and demanded protection for Black transgender individuals.

Photo via David L. Bowles, @aquanasium, with permission.

“I am standing with my Black trans brothers and sisters. Nobody should feel afraid to walk the streets. Nobody should feel like they don’t belong,” Jessica Lavado, a Bed-Stuy resident who attended the march, told us. “The lives of Black people matter. The lives of Black trans people matter. It’s not that hard to understand.”

The event, Brooklyn Liberation: An Action for Black Trans Lives, was organized by various organizations including The Okra Project, Marsha P. Johnson Institute, For the Gworls, G.L.I.T.S., and Black Trans Femmes in the Arts. The rally filled several blocks around the museum and the site was one to see. After the rally, people marched down the blocks silently.

Photo via David L. Bowles, @aquanasium, with permission.

One transgender woman who attended the rally told us, “I fear for my life every day I leave my house. Why does it have to be this way? My life is just as important as a white woman’s life. Why do I have to feel like I am ‘less than’?” she said. “I am Black. Being a Black person is already difficult in this country. How much difficult do you think being Black and trans is?”

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled, in a 6-3 vote, that LGBTQIA+ people were now protected from discrimination in the workplace.

Photo via David L. Bowles, @aquanasium, with permission.

“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote. “Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

We asked James Shakil, a protestor, on how it felt hearing the decision this morning. He told us he cried. It’s “about damn time.”

“We are human. It doesn’t and shouldn’t matter to my employers how I identify myself. If I am doing the work, and doing it better than everyone else, why should it matter who I choose to love?” he said. “We have a long way to go in this country. This is just a step forward.”

All the photos were taken by David L. Bowles. He’s a talented local photographer and you can view his photos on his Instagram under Aquanasium. And check out his website here. 

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Zainab Iqbal

Zainab is a staff reporter at Bklyner who sometimes writes poetry in her free time || zainab@bklyner.com

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