On Saturday, July 16, a “March for Trans Justice” will be held in at least 8 Ohio cities as similar actions will be held in cities nationwide.
It is believed to be the first ever trans equality action held in multiple Ohio cities at the same time.
“I have seen this for women’s marches, but I’ve never seen anything like this for trans justice,” said James Knapp, Chair of TransOhio.
Simultaneous rallies will be held in Akron, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown. More cities might be added before the 16th. Signs, flags, and clothing with supportive messaging are encouraged.
The Buckeye Flame spoke with Knapp to find out more about this statewide day of action.
Why these marches? Why now?
Awesome question. As we know, trans people have been under attack for a while. But the anti-abortion bans going around were the last straw as trans folks have realized that folks are not paying attention to us unless we’re dying. The conversation completely neglected to mention any trans men or nonbinary people and we realized that we have been in the fight for reproductive care for a long time and that our cis allies aren’t behind us.
It’s 2022 and trans healthcare, access to education and to job markets and basically being able to be out in public are all being erased, Not just in Ohio but across the nation.
So this March for Trans Justice really is a nationwide push for everyone to get together this Saturday and be visible so that we show the rest of society that we need action.
You mentioned that these marches will be taking place nationwide. How is the vibe different in Ohio though than in other places? It feels different here, does it not?
It kind of does because Ohio is in a very precarious place legally right now when it comes to trans rights. As we know, we don’t have the Ohio Fairness Act. Some cities have nondiscrimination protections for trans people but the majority of Ohio doesn’t.
So we have 9 marches currently planned in Ohio. TransOhio is trying to keep track of them and to help plan them, but these are all community-driven events. The organizers are all trans people. These aren’t TransOhio events. These are trans people of Ohio events.
What emotions should people bring with them?
I encourage everyone to bring their anger, but remember that this is really about hope and change for the future.
I don’t know if you’ve seen any of the polls that have been coming out about how Americans feel about trans people. Before the discussion about banning trans women from sports, the acceptance rate for trans people was very high. Over the last two years, we’ve been dragging trans women and trans girls into these anti-sports conversations, and suddenly the approval rating of trans people is lower than 40% and that’s just of people who approve of trans people existing in the world.
How do you think that makes the youth feel right now?
Let’s start by addressing trans Ohioans. What do you have to say to trans Ohioans to get them to show up on Saturday?
Trans Ohioans, we cannot wait until November to vote. We need to show up now and come out in groups. I want to encourage people who feel afraid—especially in light of police actions and anti-trans sentiments—that we do have legal observers at all of these marches and attendees will not be alone. We do have resources available for folks and people shouldn’t be afraid to turn out. We need to get as many people as possible to show up and support.
What about Ohioans who are not trans? We need all of them to show up as well?
How do we activate the non-trans Ls, Gs, Bs, and Qs to show up?
The problem is that a lot of queer folks feel that these anti-trans laws don’t affect them. And they’re wrong.
Any anti-trans law, regulation, or policy is really detrimental to cisgender people as well, because it polices the way people express their genders. And more often than not, it’s cisgender women who are harmed by these laws and policies. We’ve seen that through sports. We’ve seen that through job discrimination. And we’ve seen that in health discrimination.
So if there are allies out there who think they are being allies just because they are not openly against trans people, that’s not enough. We need them to realize that when one group of people is being systemically oppressed, it really affects the rest of society as well.
What does success look like?
If we can get a good group of people there, I think that’s a success. If we get people talking about this, that’s a success. As many people as we can get is a good number and I’m not really hoping on one number or another. I just want to see trans faces and friendly faces. We need more allies. We need you to show up. That will be a big success. 🔥