Philly Trans March 2019 remembers transgender people murdered in Philadelphia.
On Oct. 12, the Philly Trans March highlighted the need for recognition and support of transgender rights in light of the many transgender people who have been murdered in the city.
More than 700 people gathered at Malcolm X Park in West Philadelphia to march for justice, equity, and liberation for the transgender community, while remembering the transgender people who have been murdered in Philadelphia.
Violence directed toward the transgender community is not unique to the city of brotherly love. As of October 2019, there have been 19 recorded fatal violent attacks on transgender people ages 17 to 40 in the U.S., this year along. Including the murder of Michelle “Tamika” Washington, which occurred close to home in Philadelphia.
It is a continued struggle that has caused pain and rage in the transgender community.
In 2010, Philadelphia started its first Philly Trans March, led by local activist Christian Lovehall as a response to Stacey Blahnik’s murder.
Almost a decade later, feelings have not faded.
With a firm but pained voice, speaker Alonda Tally remembered her friend Shantee Tucker who was murdered in 2018. She urged people to forget what makes them different and unite in their common bonds.
Her tone was echoed by Louis Mitchell from Transfaith. But he reminded the crowd that acknowledging that “trans rights are human rights” also involves holding people accountable for their words and actions.
“It is time for us to end perpetrator protection. If it’s your cousin, turn them in. If it’s your brother, turn them in. If it’s you, turn your own darn self in!” said Mitchel.
Between the pain, Madelyn “Amina” Morrison told the crowd that the fight for visibility and justice will inevitably come with anger.
“When we explain to them that we are dying and they tell us things like ‘Well, you gotta be upfront about who you are.’ When you know full f***ing well you live your truth on your sleeve and on our forehead and on your hands, and on your mouth, and on your face, and on your throat and in your body,” Amina said.
“As if you need to have a neon sign saying, ‘Please don’t kill me, I’m trans,” added Morrison.
The march remembered members of the transgender community who had “transition into ancestors” like Erika Keels (hit and run), Andi Woodhouse (suicide), Sean Ryan (shot by police during a Domestic Violence dispute) and asked for justice for the ones who had been murdered:
For anyone interested in supporting the transgender community, or for transgender individuals seeking support, click here for some of the resources available in Philadelphia.