1st ever Twin Cities Trans March a Success Marred by Transphobia

July 10, 2008

I didn’t really just post this now for the first time; it’s been moved from a different blog address.

For Immediate Release
Photo Credit Sea Lee

Hazel/Cedar Troost Minneapolis, June 22nd, 2007—

“HRC your time is near—
Fake inclusion won’t work here!

So chanted marchers at the Twin Cities’ first annual Trans March over Pride weekend. An estimated 200-250 trans, gender non-conforming and allied protesters gathered in Gold Medal Park by 10th Avenue and 2nd Street, and marched down Washington Avenue shouting slogans calling for prison reform and the removal of sex classification from identification, as well as an end to the gender binary, health insurance discrimination, and transphobia in local and national GLBT organizations and publications.

“We wanted to hold this march to show our significance as a transgender/gender non-conforming community, to ourselves, to non-trans queer people, and to others, but also to build connections within a sometimes fragmented set of trans communities,” said organizer Sea Lee. Jill Bartel, another organizer, added “We had an incredible range of diversity at this march, and we’re really proud of that, but we hope to improve upon it next year.”

Marchers proceeded along Washington to Hennepin Avenue, turning left and passing the Gay 90’s before being stopped by police. Despite a permit obtained from the city of Minneapolis which clearly and accurately outlined the route, timing, and size of the march, uniformed officers told organizers Mk Davis and Remy that the marchers had to disperse or face arrest. Officers claimed concerns for the safety of marchers, and alleged that a marcher had been throwing rocks. One marcher pointedly asked, “Who threatens people for their own safety? Nobody was throwing rocks. It’s just an excuse for their own transphobia.”

Marchers continued chanting across the street from the Gay 90’s and Brass Rail, some remaining in the street while others retreated to the sidewalk. Despite threats and the presence of multiple squad cars and a police van, officers did not make any arrests. After approximately forty-five minutes, marchers chanted “Shame, shame, we’ll be back / We won’t fold under attack” before ending the rally. Cedar/Hazel Troost, an organizer, commented, “The difference between our treatment by the police and that of the other marches during Pride weekend is a symptom of the selective advocacy of the corporate ‘GLBT’ movement, which excludes trans people, poor people, and people of color.” Ze continued, “This march was created to draw attention to and protest that, and with the help of the cops, we certainly succeeded.”

Participants celebrated the success of the march at an afterparty, where Harsh Reality, the Transformers, Tough Tough Skin, and a member of District 202’s theater troupe, Empowered Expressions, performed.

The organizing collective is seeking additional organizers for 2008; those interested should email tctransmarch@yahoo.com. All those who feel marginalized within the trans community are especially encouraged to join the collective.

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