Black Trans Lives Mat­ters rally takes over Un­der­ground At­lanta

GA Voice - - News Briefs -

LGBT ac­tivists and sup­port­ers gath­ered for a rally in down­town At­lanta on Aug. 25 to call at­ten­tion to a rash of anti-trans vi­o­lence, with a re­ported 17 trans­gen­der peo­ple be­ing killed across the coun­try so far this year.

The #Black­Tran­sLivesMat­ter rally was the cul­mi­na­tion of a na­tional day of ac­tion and drew roughly 100 peo­ple to the en­trance to Un­der­ground At­lanta and the Five Points MARTA sta­tion. The lo­ca­tion was sig­nif­i­cant, as MARTA has faced heavy crit­i­cism for fail­ing to pro­tect trans riders fol­low­ing an as­sault on two trans women in May 2014.

Speak­ers mourned the loss of the trans mur­der vic­tims and pleaded with on­look­ers to re­spect the trans com­mu­nity.

“Be­lieve peo­ple when they tell you who they are. It doesn’t mat­ter how they dress, their tone of voice, their man­ner­isms, their pro­noun, their name,” said Hol­i­day Sim­mons, com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion and ad­vo­cacy di­rec­tor for Lambda Le­gal’s South­ern Re­gional Of­fice. “Re­spect peo­ples’ pro­nouns and prac­tice. I love when peo­ple are like, ‘Well, I just haven’t had that ex­pe­ri­ence’ or ‘I’ve known you for so long.’ When peo­ple get mar­ried, they never say ‘Well I’ve never got­ten mar­ried so I can’t call you by your new name any­more.’”

Oth­ers noted the preva­lence of phrases like “Girl, what’s the T?” and “throw­ing shade” among cis­gen­der men in pop­u­lar cul­ture, with ac­tivist Mick­yel Brad­ford say­ing, “It both­ers me to see these things be­come main­stream cul­ture and get lifted up but me and my sis­ters are not lifted up.”

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