Pittsburghers protest in opposition to violence in opposition to coloured transsexuals
About 100 people marched through Oakland Sunday afternoon to protest violence against black transsexuals in Pittsburgh. The group sang, “Black Trans Lives, they matter here” and “Take it out on the streets and f – the police, no justice, no peace, f – 12.”
About 100 people gathered in Schenley Plaza this afternoon for a protest hosted by the local activist group @transyouniting. pic.twitter.com/1dkY5xlx8U
– The Pitt News (@ThePittNews) May 2, 2021
Trans YOUniting – a local non-profit providing resources for the Pittsburgh trans community – organized the demonstration It started around 2:30 p.m. at Schenley Plaza. The protesters then headed towards West Oakland on Fifth Avenue and circled back on Forbes Avenue before stopping in front of the Cathedral of Learning.
The group now marches down Fifth Avenue toward downtown while singing “Black Trans Lives That Matters” and “All Black Lives That Matters Here”. Video of the Mische Holland employee pic.twitter.com/WuiKGRQQL6
– The Pitt News (@ThePittNews) May 2, 2021
The organizers had three main goals – promotion a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization’s Trans Crisis FundEducate allies about BIPOC transgender struggles in Pittsburgh and encourage people to vote in the EU upcoming primaries on May 18th. Organizers also called for violence against BlPOC trans women like Aaliyah Johnson. Johnson, a 32-year-old black trans woman and activist, was found dead before her apartment in Pittsburgh last year. Johnson died from a blunt impact to the head and neck, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner.
There were numerous speakers reiterating the rally’s goals and discussing the cycles of violence against BIPOC transsexuals in Pittsburgh. Chauntey Mo’Nique Porter, Managing Director of Trans YOUniting, is a 42-year-old black trans woman who began her physical transition over 20 years ago. She said it was very difficult for someone to change their legal name in Pennsylvania, especially those with convicted crimes added that black trans women are particularly exposed to dangerous situations.
“Most of the trans women who are murdered are murdered simply because they are beautiful black trans women and they are living their truth,” Porter said. “They have men out here who love and interact with black trans women, but they fear that their love for these people will be exposed. Once they have their fun, they do what they have to do to cover their tracks and sometimes that person will lose their life. “
Dalen Michael, co-founder of Makaveli’s exclusive home and Pgh LGBTQ + coalition Member said gentrification in Pittsburgh is pushing black and brown trans people into unsafe living conditions in the area. The Exclusive House of Makaveli is a Pittsburgh ballroom community founded in 2019.
“Pittsburgh is the eighth largest city in America. So you know that there is no affordable housing for black trans women in the city center. There is no such thing as safe, affordable housing. “Said Michael. “So we’re going out … because we can’t afford to live downtown. And then it’s less safe in the counties. There is less policing, there is less protection, there are fewer people who look like us, and it’s not safe. “
Michael added that people should take every opportunity to resolve issues that affect trans people, including questions about unsolved murders of black trans women and the use of correct pronouns. They said, “Allies won’t stop just because you went to protest.”
Giuseppe RosselliA candidate for a judge’s office on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas and local criminal defense attorney spoke at the protest. He stressed the importance of voting for officials who advocate for marginalized communities and pleaded with the crowd to “research your candidates and make sure you know who you are voting for”. He said people of color “would have an ally” if he took the robe.
[PHOTOS: Trans YOUniting protest in Oakland]
In addition to asking them to vote on the upcoming primaries, Trans YOUniting sponsored its fundraiser in May to support the housing and crisis needs of trans people in Pittsburgh. Freedom Foster-Grady, Trans YOUniting’s social media and services coordinator, said the $ 25,000 fundraiser will be used for critical crisis resources for trans and non-binary people in Pittsburgh, such as a $ 16,000 apartment with four crisis beds and support for housing grants.
Foster-Grady said housing support is critical because of it Discrimination in the workplace that trans people face, resulting in inaccessible health care and increased risk of homelessness. Foster-Grady added that “homeless shelters turn away trans people” and “there are really high levels of sexual assault for trans people in homeless shelters”.
Foster-Grady said while most trans people may experience similar forms of oppression, it is color trans people who suffer the most.
“Ultimately, every single system of oppression falls on transgender black indigenous transsexuals, and far too often the movements don’t center the most vulnerable in any community,” said Foster-Grady. “This entire month is about raising awareness of the cycle of violence, but then also fighting against it.”
During the demonstration, Trans YOUniting also set up a table for Put people first! Pennsylvania, a branch of Health care is a human rightto help people sign up for Medicare, grocery stamps, and dental care. HCHR is a grassroots cooperation in several countries in order to gain universal, publicly funded health care. PPF-PA also urged people to sign petitions to restore root canal coverage in the state’s dental coverage.
Frederica Phillips, co-coordinator for PPF-PA, said government-provided health services are not getting to the people who need them and that critical services are being cut rather than funded.
“We believe Medicare should be for all of Pennsylvania, not just those caring about welfare,” Phillips said. “There is money in our state to do this for everyone in the state of Pennsylvania, but they’d rather put it in something like the police department that is killing us.”