Phoenix’s transgender community marches to protect their rights
Members of the LGBTQ community and allies gathered to march through the Arizona Capitol on Saturday morning as part of a nationwide protest against legislation targeting transgender people across the United States.
The march comes about a month after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Protesters say the two issues are “intersectional” because abortion bans could disproportionately affect transgender people.
“Roe isn’t the end, it’s the beginning,” said Reyna Guerra, event planner and founder of Queerizona. “With a conservative Supreme Court, we have no protection, especially in a state like Arizona.”
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According to Noelle Canez, secretary and creative director of Queerizona, 130 bills targeting transgender people have been introduced nationwide, including 14 from Arizona.
One such bill restricting surgery for transgender youth and banning their participation in sports was passed by the Arizona government in April, sparking dissent among transgender rights activists.
“We are protesting in response to these bills. Trans people at the state level are not supported. In terms of safety, health care. To me, that looks like a violation of the Constitution.” Guerra said.
“We just want the right to be equal”
The crowd of more than 200 marched around the State Capitol holding signs and banners and chanting “Trans rights are human rights.”
Carolyn Burke said she attended Saturday’s rally to support her 15-year-old child, Nex Smith, who identifies as non-binary.
Burke said with the passage of bills targeting transgender youth in Arizona, it was important for her to continue to fight to protect other teens like her child.
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“I don’t really understand the purpose (of the bills) other than oppression,” Burke said.
Smith said they came to the rally for themselves and their friends who also identify as non-binary.
Smith said they consider themselves lucky to have been surrounded by a supportive environment at home and at school, but said they fear this could be threatened by state bills restricting the freedoms of children. transgender people.
“The situation is bad, but I think no matter what, we have to be ourselves,” Smith said.
But Canez said those restrictions could fuel discrimination and even violence against members of the LGBTQ community.
“There are fears that we will be treated badly as a result, which is how trans people and gender non-conforming people are treated after all these bills were introduced,” Canez said. “These bills are saying to the rest of the community ‘These people are different. They are doing something different, maybe something wrong. That’s why we need to pass this law.'”
According to Canez, the court’s decision in Roe v. Wade escalated concerns about issues such as access to health care and the privacy of transgender people with their doctors, among other freedoms.
“We just want the right to be equal and to choose things for ourselves without the government having to tell us what to do,” Canez said. “Whether it’s choosing to go ahead with the birth or not, or whether it’s choosing whether or not you want to have reassignment surgery, or whether you want to choose the pronouns you use.”
Susan Massey of Radical Women Phoenix, who was also present at the march, said she believes the fight for reproductive rights is also synonymous with bodily autonomy for transgender people.
“Their bodies are increasingly under attack, just like the bodies of pregnant women are under attack, and we’re all in the same fight,” Massey said.
Massey said she thinks it’s important to mobilize and strategize for both causes to be more effective in challenging conservative efforts to “threaten reproductive and transgender rights,” she said. .
“We want Arizona to know that trans people have been here, we are here, and we will always be here. They are our neighbors, colleagues, community members, and friends, and they deserve the exact same rights as everyone else. Americans,” Canez said.
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