transgender rights

‘We Have a Long Way to Go': Thousands Gather for Transgender Rights in Boston

Protesters carried "Black Trans Lives Matter" signs at the Trans Resistance Vigil and March, which kicked off at Franklin Park at 3 p.m.

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Thousands gathered Saturday in Boston to raise awareness for transgender rights, specifically Black transgender rights, and to raise money for the Transgender Emergency Fund of Massachusetts, which helps low income and homeless transgender people across the state.

Protesters carried "Black Trans Lives Matter" signs at the Trans Resistance Vigil and March, which kicked off at Franklin Park at 3 p.m. There was a one hour vigil with speeches, followed by a march to Nubian Square.

The CEO of The Trevor Project, Amit Paley, said his organization is reaching out this month to LGBTQ youth, and particularly vulnerable black LGBTQ youth, despite the cancellation of Pride events due to COVID-19.

“You have pride because of black and brown transgender people,” said Trey'Andrew Valentine, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition.

The protesters shouted "No justice, no peace! Abolish the police!" as they marched past MBTA transit police officers in Roxbury.

The group also spoke out against the Trump administration's recent decision to get rid of transgender protections in health care. Friday, the Trump administration finalized its rollback of protections against gender identity discrimination in health care regulated by the Affordable Care Act.

“I think the orange man is a nut,” said Athena Vaughn, chair of Trans Mass Resistance.

The move allows health insurance companies and health care providers to deny services to people because of their gender identity.

“How can you want our support, but yet you’re doing badly at making sure the protections that is put in place stays there?” Vaughn asked.

The protesters Saturday also said police brutality is another big, ongoing issue that often doesn't get enough attention when it happens to transgender people.

“It’s a disgrace. We have a long way to go. We need to be treated as humans," said Chastity Bowick, executive director of the Transgender Emergency Fund of Massachusetts. "My own history with the police is not great. Seven years ago when the trans emergency fund tried to save my life after leaving an abusive relationship — tried to call the police — they said this is not domestic violence. This is two men having a disagreement. I am not a man. I am a woman.”

The goal was to raise $100,000 for the organization this weekend. There's no word yet on where they stand with their fundraising.

From the shadows to out in the streets, Boston’s pride community is more out and proud than ever before.

Saturday's protest comes in the middle of LGBTQ Pride Month. Boston Pride announced Monday that it was postponing many of its virtual events to celebrate Pride Month in order to focus on supporting calls for racial justice that have swept the nation in recent weeks.

The calls for racial justice have continued in Boston and throughout the state of Massachusetts, where a number of protests were held Saturday.

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