The 2018 Trans March, hosted by the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico, took place on Thursday, June 7. The event was organized in part by the University of New Mexico LGBTQ Resource Center.
The event began at the Resource Center with food and a meet and greet, and then a number of speakers took to a microphone to speak to their experiences. A crowd of energetic, diverse participants watched as various speakers relayed stories of mistreatment, oppression and violence.
The country’s political climate was a frequent talking point. One speaker, who uses the pronouns he, him, his, spoke positively, saying that as a society we have made progress in becoming more tolerant and accepting of the trans and wider LGBTQ community. He said this progress, however, has invited those against the community to raise their voices louder.
Another frequent topic in the speeches was transphobic violence. Speakers recounted the story of Roxana Hernandez, a transgender migrant who died in the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s custody. Attendees bore signs that read “Justice for Roxana,” demanding legal action against the ICE facility where she died. Others went further, calling for the complete abolishment of ICE.
One of the speakers and march participants was Renae Gray, who is a Native trans activist and uses the pronouns she, her and hers.
“I march to stand with my sisters,” Gray said. “Lots of them have passed already. It’s unacceptable. I’m here to demand structural change — it needs to happen now.”
After a number of speakers, the march assembled outside the center, led by members of the Queer Trans People of Color group, or QTPOC. Most of the route took place along Central Avenue, with a car leading the way to clear traffic.
QTPOC member Selina Aleztia Del Hierro-Villa, who uses the pronouns they, them, theirs, led chants through a loudspeaker, including “Trans liberation, no deportation,” “No justice, no pride” and “Arrest us, just try it. Stonewall was a riot.”
Signs carried by participants called for political and social change, ranging from specifically trans rights, to immigration issues, to calling for an upheaval of the capitalist economic system. Some motorists slowed and honked, and people came out from local businesses to show support.
The march ended at Morningside Park, where march participants joined an already gathered crowd for a candlelight vigil honoring the victims of transphobic violence. According to the organizers, the event has grown steadily since its inaugural year, but while the event celebrated the movement’s progress, it also sent an urgent message for immediate change.
Gabriella Rivera is a news reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter as @gabbychlamps.