About 50 people attended a rally and march against transphobia on Sunday. The event, organized by local activists, coincided with the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The rally began at Dupont Circle with a speech from local activist Ruby Corado of Casa Ruby. Corado criticized Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier as well as the D.C. Department of Health.
“Right now there are trans women, gay men and LGBT people in D.C. jail,” said Corado. “Their only crime has been to try to survive in an underground economy. But not once have I heard you, Cathy Lanier, ask the City Council for resources to help those people that you jail and then go back to nothing.”
Corado continued, “As a person who is living with HIV for the past 18 years, I am repulsed that 15 years ago we did a study on transgender populations, and we found out that the HIV positivity ratio in our community was 34 percent. The scientists went crazy. The city was shocked. And what did they do? Very little.”
“Today, we did a follow up study of the same needs of transgender and gender non-conforming communities. And we discovered that in 2015, the report said that 75 percent of trans women of color are HIV positive. That is criminal. That is murder!”
Corado was followed by Lourdes Ashley Hunter of the Trans Women of Color Collective.
“We know last year, 12 trans women of color were brutally murdered in a six-month time span. This year, in two months, eight trans women of color were brutally murdered,” said Hunter. “Six trans youth under the age of 21 took agency over their lives and decided that it was not worth living. We must continue to create pathways and pipelines for our young people to be able to thrive in their truth and live their lives unapologetically.”
“Trans people of color are disproportionately impacted by structural oppression. We are denied access to housing, healthcare, we are denied access to employment opportunities,” said Hunter.
Hunter continued, “yes, we have all these rights, but rights will not give us liberation. We need to tell the Obama administration that a gender-neutral bathroom will not stop the murders of trans people here in the District. Fuck your bathroom — if I leave my house I might lose my life!”
After the rally, activists marched from Dupont Circle past the White House to McPherson Square chanting, “Can you hear us? Loud and Queer!” and “What do we want? Justice!”