KhushDC, a group for LGBT South Asians who live in the D.C. metropolitan area, and the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance organized the event, which included local advocates who spoke.
Organizers at the base of the Dupont Circle fountain placed 75 rainbow flags representing the number of hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity and national origin that have been reported in D.C. since July 31. They also had posters honoring Nabra Hassanen, a 17-year-old Muslim teenager who was killed in June during what advocates believe is a hate crime, and three other murder victims who were trans and/or people of color.
“For some of us, these aren’t different communities,” Shabab Ahmed Mirza of KhushDC told the Washington Blade before she spoke in Dupont Circle. “We are part of the LGBT community. I am part of the queer and trans community. I am part of the Muslim community. I am part of the South Asian community. For me it’s not like these things are happening separate from each other.”
Sunday’s event is one of seven that are taking place across the country around the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“We had this horrific tragedy,” said Mirza.
“What’s also been really sad is the 16 years since then, the event has become a symbol of hate against our communities,” she added, referring to U.S. military campaigns around the world.
Mirza told the Blade that airport screening procedures implemented in the wake of Sept. 11 don’t “actually make anyone that much safer” and were “created as a tool of Islamophobia.” She added body scanners the Transportation Security Administration now uses at airport security checkpoints are “telling us what our bodies should look like.”
“As a trans person when I’m going through security they’re going to have to sort of sit there and be like your body doesn’t match what we think a man should look like or a woman should look like and you have to fit into one of those two categories,” said Mirza. “That’s not a reality for many of us. If you’re a trans woman, you might not have a body that’s expected by the machine.”
‘When one of us is hurt, all of us are hurt’
Advocates have sharply criticized President Trump over his efforts to temporarily ban citizens from half a dozen predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. The White House’s response to last month’s deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and his decision to ban trans people from the military have also sparked widespread condemnation.
“The Trump administration wants to create this wedge among communities,” Mirza told the Blade. “He’s the fountain pet a whole movement that wants to create hate, sow hatred in our communities.”
She added Sunday’s event in Dupont Circle was about “acknowledging that when one of us is hurt, all of us are hurt.”