First New England trans pride march held in Northampton, Mass.
Published Jun 12, 2008 9:17 PM
A spirited and militant crowd of more than 1,000 trans and gender
non-conforming people and their supporters marched and rallied in 90-degree
heat here June 7, in a historic first New England Trans Pride Day. The official
slogan on posters and T-shirts was “Remember Stonewall? That was
Dozens of banners reflected many participating organizations, including Smith
School for Social Work LGBTQQ Alliance; Boston Dyke March; Connecticut
TransAdvocacy Coalition; Transcend from Pittsfield, Mass.; Tapestry Health
Center; Vermont TransAction; The Network/La Red; Massachusetts Transgender
Political Coalition; and the International Action Center.
The march was led by Grand Marshall Miss Major, an African-American transwoman
who is a veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion and a lead organizer for the
Trans/Gender Variant in Prison Committee.
WW photos: Imani Henry
The rally opened with a welcoming statement from the Northampton mayor, Clare
Higgins. Jill Berlin from TransForming Families described her process of
learning from and supporting her trans son and other trans people.
A moving statement was read from Elliot Holloway, a 19-year-old white trans man
who organized for his high school gay-straight alliance to be trans inclusive.
Monica Roberts of Louisville, Ky., an African-American trans organizer and
leader, cited W.E.B. Dubois and Nelson Mandela, and said, “We owe it to
ourselves to fight like Miss Major and Sylvia Rivera (Stonewall rebellion
nat’l trans leader.
Bet Power, member of the New England Transgender Pride Steering Committee and
curator of the Sexual Minority Archives, invoked Sylvia Rivera who “threw
a bottle at a cop and changed the world.” Marie Ali, Trinidadian steering
committee member and trans lesbian woman, condemned Congress for failing to
include trans people in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Steering committee member Jacklyn Matts cited trans pride actions around the
country and challenged the crowd to remain active to “fight the war
against trans people” and overcome the one-in-12 murder rate and massive
discrimination suffered by trans people.
Gunner Scott of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition called on
people to support the Massachusetts Transgender Civil Rights Bill, HB 1722.
The chair read a statement from Leslie Feinberg, trans movement pioneer, author
and managing editor of Workers World newspaper, and urged participants to read
Workers World newspaper.
Imani Henry from the International Action Center dispelled the myth that trans
people are only concerned with their physical bodies, hormones and surgeries,
but are integral and in the forefront of fighting against the economic
exploitation of all people. He asked the crowd if they were outraged at the
Sean Bell verdict, the jailing of the Jersey 4—four African-American
lesbians imprisoned for defending themselves against an anti-LGBT
attack—and the rush to war against Iran, and everyone’s hand went
up each time.
In Seattle, San Francisco, New York and now in New England, trans activists for
the last few years have been organizing to link the issues of trans oppression
with other social justice issues. Repression has been on the rise against all
lesbian, gay, bi and trans people. LGBT people, especially trans people, still
live without basic human rights. This first New England Trans Pride rally is a
step forward for the entire progressive movement.
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