Baltimore’s Black trans community and allies came together to hold a “Baltimore TransUprising” march and rally on July 24. They demanded full rights and respect for the transgender community in Baltimore, the day before Baltimore’s Pride parade. Organizers emphasized that transgender women and men are a part of the history, the present and the future of Baltimore and will no longer be marginalized or silenced by fear and hate.
More than 200 people came out to express their solidarity and support for transgender rights. The idea of the title #Baltimore TransUprising was the brainchild of transgender activist Bryanna A. Jenkins, who participated in the Baltimore uprising around Freddie Grey but felt that the trans community was not fully accepted and so decided to bring more attention and awareness to the transgender community.
The marchers gathered at North Avenue and Charles Street, in a neighborhood where many members of Baltimore’s transgender community live. They marched for about a mile to Baltimore’s Washington Monument in Mt. Vernon, the center of Baltimore’s LGBTQ community, where a rally was held. The march and rally were sponsored by Sistas of the T; the Baltimore Transgender Alliance; and Black Transmen, Inc.-Maryland/DC. The People’s Power Assembly participated in the march and carried signs that read “Black Trans Lives Matter — Say her name: India Clark,” a transgender woman killed in Tampa, Fla., in July. Speakers at the rally included Merrick Moise, Dionne Halsey, Dane Edidi, Tyler Vile, Danielle Revlon and Monica Stevens.
Bryanna A. Jenkins read off a list of 14 demands, excerpted here:
- An investigation into the death of Mya Hall
- An end to the police brutality and police profiling of transgender people of Baltimore
- That every cold case involving the murder of a transgender person be reopened and solved
- Intentional efforts to reduce the recidivism rate among transgender people in the prison system
- That jobs be set aside for members of Baltimore’s transgender community
- Funding for a homeless shelter for LGBTQ individuals in Baltimore
- That cases referred to the Commission of Civil Rights involving discrimination at the workplace be pursued with the utmost importance and urgency
- That any hospital or clinic providing medical services to transgender people be competent and non-discriminatory in their treatment towards us
- Health care that is trans-specific and trans–inclusive
- That initiatives be put in place, with various grants to support these initiatives, to set aside vacant houses for LGBTQ people of color so they can own their own homes in the cities
- That LGBTQ children in Baltimore schools be protected from bullying and harassment
- That the city of Baltimore set money aside for a mural to honor the lives of transgender people that we have lost in this city, so that they are never forgotten
- That our allies use their privilege to interrupt patterns of transphobia, homophobia, violence and hate whenever they happen, whether someone LGBTQ-identified is in the room or not
- That when you are working to meet the rest of our demands, you intentionally include us at the table, particularly trans women of color, so that you are making policy with us and not just for us
Jenkins asked the crowd to save the date of Nov. 20, when the Baltimore Transgender Alliance will host a Transgender March of Resilience at Baltimore City Hall. There we will see how the city has met our demands and honor our brothers and sisters who are no longer with us.
Photo: July 24, Baltimore.
Credit: Sharon Black