by Ken Schneck, Editor
A protest entitled “Take It To The Streets for Trans Lives” was set to take place on Saturday, October 3 in Cleveland, but–in the days and hours leading up to the event–was postponed to November, then canceled, and now might be back on for as-yet-determined date.
The grassroots event was to feature a march from the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland to downtown Cleveland and culminate with a dance party in the streets. The organizers put forth a list of demands in connection with the event:
1. Reopen all Cold Cases of Trans deaths.
2. Decriminalize HIV and Sex Work.
3. Prevent State & City housing/employment discrimination.
4. Provide State & City public accommodation protections.
5. Establish Trans affirming and supportive shelters including expansion on social service resources for the Trans Community.
6. Eliminate Conversion Therapy.
7. Eliminate Racism and Transphobic prison disparities.
8. Implement Trans affirming support for 6th – 12th graders.
9. Hold Transphobic and Trans-Antagonistic reporting accountable.
10. Expand Medicaid and Transgender healthcare.
Other organizations echoed these concerns.
“We do not support or encourage participation with Take it to the Streets tomorrow,” read a statement on the Facebook page of TransFamily, a Cleveland-area trans support group. “Our primary concern is the safety and well-being of trans* lives.”
On October 1, organizers postponed the event to Nov 1 “due to the increased police presence in Cleveland” as a result of the Presidential debate. On October 2, the day before the protest was set to convene, the event was canceled altogether.
“We have no interest in group in-fighting and therefore have decided to cancel the event,” wrote Thomas. “We look forward to supporting the Trans Community in any way we can now and in the future.”
In communication to The Buckeye Flame late Friday, Thomas indicated that the event may still have a future and that more information would be available this week.
For now, event organizers say they are left questioning the climate within the LGBTQ+ community for start-up events.
“This was all evidence that the LGBT community has a huge lack of support for grassroots organizations,” says Tony Correa, listed as the ‘Lead Organizer’ on the event’s page, and founder/executive director of B. Riley Sober House. “This is exactly what happened when B. Riley Center was started and no one stepped up to help.”
For their part, representatives from TransOhio are quick to refute that assessment.
“TransOhio is a grassroots org. We are legit a small working board of trans volunteers,” explains Darius Stubbs, a Board member of TransOhio. “It’s just really clear that the event was not for the community. If it were, they would have sought out local trans leadership early in their planning and not only after folks reached out to them with questions. It all has the feeling of staging an action for personal clout.”
Ken Schneck is the Editor of The Buckeye Flame. He is the author of Seriously, What Am I Doing Here? The Adventures of a Wondering and Wandering Gay Jew (2017), LGBTQ Cleveland (2018), LGBTQ Columbus (2019), and LGBTQ Cincinnati (2020). In his spare time, he is a professor of education at Baldwin Wallace University. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.