On Sunday afternoon, thousands of trans supporters gathered in Brooklyn to protest the legislation that targets transgender students.
Some states —which all have Republican governors— in the US have already passed similar legislation banning students born male from playing on public school teams intended for student-athletes born as girls. The states include Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Florida, Montana, Tennessee, Idaho, and West Virginia.
The legislation has been heavily criticized by some for ‘limiting the rights of LGBTQ people.’
“Trans youth absolutely deserve to play sports just like I did, just like I do,” Schuyler Bailar told the New York Times, describing himself as a queer Korean-American transgender man of color. “Trans kids deserve that space.”
Bailar competed in a college swim team as an openly transgender man and is deeply worried about the legislation that is being pushed through in the country.
According to the supporters of the controversial legislation, such a law is needed to preserve fairness in a competition. They insist that biologically born women and girls would be at a disadvantage against transgender athletes who were born as a male but have since transitioned to female.
Earlier this June, US President Joe Biden issued a proclamation to mark the start of Pride Month. He encouraged Congress to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination by passing the Equality Act.
On the other hand, Biden’s Republican predecessor Donald J. Trump did not officially recognize Pride Month during his years in office.
The rally was staged to protect transgender kids with protesters wearing white clothing and face masks during the protest.
“We are here to claim space,” Shéár Avorywho, a transgender and nonbinary, told the cheering crowd. “We are here to say that we have a right not just to survive, but to thrive; to demand that our movements show up and center us.”
Raquel Willis, a black transgender activist told The Times that she believes that the violence and the various bills being passed in state legislatures across the US are co-related.
“When we talk about the epidemic of violence plaguing Black trans women and brown trans women, that is so tied to the violence and the psychological distress that trans youth are facing,” Willis said.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 28 transgender or gender-nonconforming people have been murdered in the United States so far this year.
The victims were overwhelmingly Hispanic and black trans women, making 2021 the worst year on record for anti-trans violence.