Demonstrators gathered in Washington Square Park last night to honor the nine transgender women of color murdered in 2017 so far.
Last week, Chay Reed, 28, from Miami was fatally shot as she fled from her attacker. Reed is the ninth trans women of color murdered this year to date, alongside Mesha Caldwell, Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, JoJo Striker, Jaqarrius Holland, Keke Collier, Chyna Gibson, Ciara McElveen, and Alphonza Watson.
Transgender people are directly threatened by the policies of the Trump administration. For example the president has already rescinded Obama-era guidance that protected transgender students in federally funded public schools.
“Not only is this a matter of safety but it is [also] an act to further push transgender people out of public spaces. Although the state of New York does prohibit discrimination for transgender and gender non-conforming students in education, the state as well as the country has a long way to go [before] fully accepting the trans community,” organizers said before the event.
The rally was held to show solidarity with New York’s trans family and to educate people on how to fight for trans people. It was hosted by a small group of individuals after a previous protest for trans rights in Washington Square Park was cancelled several weeks ago.
Last year in Jackson Heights there were 15 cases of violence against trans people.
“This year we have [had] four attacks so far. If you can support a trans person, come and help them,” said Bianey Garcia, a community organizer at Bushwick-based not-for-profit Make the Road.
Siobhan Ebert, an activist from Amnesty International, issued an urgent call to action on behalf of Jaquarrius Holland, one of the nine trans women of color murdered this year. Holland continues to be misgendered by local news outlet KNOE in Monroe County despite the fact that her case has been well publicized in national media as part of an epidemic of anti-trans violence.
Speaking at the rally, Ebert called on people to call KNOE and ask that they change the language to reflect Holland’s gender identity and record their correspondence with the news station here.
“Even in New York, you can kill someone for being trans and not be charged with a hate crime…that’s bullshit!” Ebert said.