A crowd of about 100 transgender activists took to the streets on July 24 to draw attention to the plight of transgender residents of Baltimore and, in particular, those who are people of color. The march was organized by Bryanna Jenkins, founding member and director of the Baltimore Transgender Alliance, as well as leaders from other trans advocacy groups.
Jenkins saw the event, Baltimore Trans Uprising, as an opportunity for the transgender community and allies in Baltimore City “to put a voice and face to our anguish from the various traumas we have experienced in this city and to demand accountability from the systems that our supposed to represent protect us.”
The march originated on Charles Street and North Avenue and proceeded one mile to the Washington Monument Plaza for the rally on a hot late afternoon. The route was chosen to symbolically pass through the Old Goucher neighborhood where many African-American transgender women have been harassed, according to Monica Stevens, founder of trans support group Sistas of the T.
“The world is watching and our voices were heard,” said Jenkins in a Facebook post. “I want to give special thanks for all of the speakers who set the stage on fire and let the city know that we are a force to be reckoned with.”
“As we marched down St. Paul Street, we chanted, ‘Your voice is power! Silence is death!’ The #BaltimoreTRANSUprising attendees found their power, they are choosing to live, and the new narrative has begun,” Jenkins told the Blade. “I look for forward to continuing to create a new narrative of equality in Baltimore City that intentionally includes the transgender residents of this city.”
Merrick Moise, a volunteer leader with Black Trans Advocacy, agreed. “This is a very significant event in the history of Baltimore LGBT communities. Trans folks and our allies are saying we will no longer be ignored or seen as an addendum to someone’s agenda. We demand equal treatment and to be seen as human beings.”