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Transgender Day of Visibility rally held in Utica

Thomas Caputo
Staff writer
Posted 3/31/23

The sound of car horns and cheers of support echoed throughout the streets of Utica as a rally for transgender rights took place on Friday, March 31, aligning with the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

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Transgender Day of Visibility rally held in Utica


UTICA — The sound of car horns and cheers of support echoed throughout the streets of Utica as a rally for transgender rights took place on Friday, March 31, aligning with the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

The rain and cold temperatures on Friday afternoon didn’t stop the demonstrators from gathering at the Genesee Street and Memorial Parkway intersection to express their outrage as the national culture war against the LGBTQ+ community rages on. The rally was organized by the Oneida County Pride Association as a safe and peaceful way for members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to voice their frustration with Republican-led efforts to harm the rights and protections of trans people.

"Every year [during Transgender Day of Visibility], we have a celebration to realize the trans community is here and is proud, but this year we chose to do a rally due to the increase in anti-trans rhetoric that is sweeping the nation," said Ace Morreale, founder of Oneida County Pride Association. "We want to prove that we are here, we are proud, we are normal people who just want to live our lives and exist as we are."

As of March 31, there have been 492 anti-trans bills introduced in 47 states across the country this year alone, with New York, Delaware and Alabama being the only three states that have not had any anti-trans bills introduced so far in 2023. Among the nearly 500 bills, 25 have passed, 43 have failed and 424 still remain active.

According to the Trans Legislation Tracker, 2023 marks the fourth consecutive record-breaking year for anti-trans legislation in the U.S., as Republican lawmakers continue to introduce and vote for a variety of bills that target the LGBTQ+ community, specifically trans people. These bills range from denying trans people access to basic healthcare, legal recognition, education, bathrooms, athletics, or the right to openly exist in public schools.

President Joe Biden, continuing his efforts of protecting transgender people across the country, established a proclamation on Thursday, March 30, recognizing Transgender Day of Visibility and called on Congress once again to pass the Equality Act, which would extend civil rights protections to the LGBTQ+ community. Since becoming president, Biden has been actively fighting for the community by issuing an executive order on his first day as president to root out discrimination against LGBTQ+ people and their families, appointing LGBTQ+ leaders to his administration, rescinding a ban on openly transgender people serving in the military and signing the Respect for Marriage Act into law, which repealed the Defense of Marriage Act and provides statutory authority for both same-sex and interracial marriages.

The president took to Twitter on Friday to voice his support during Transgender Day of Visibility, saying "Transgender people are some of the bravest Americans I know. But no person should have to be brave just to live in safety and dignity. Today, on Transgender Day of Visibility, I renew my commitment to building a healthy, safe, free, and just future for trans people everywhere."

Despite the president's efforts, the protections and rights of trans people have continued to come under attack, prompting the Oneida County Pride Association to hold their rally. Katherine Wojciechowski was one of the many supporters who showed up at the rally to show her support of the LGBTQ+ community as well as her disappointment in how politicians are attacking them.

"I am sickened and disheartened at the way people are being treated. Everyone has a right to live the way they want to, to be who they want to be, and no one should have the right to tell someone else that they can’t be who they feel they are," Wojciechowski said. "In so many states now, there are all these bills and all this legislation, all this anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that's hurtful and harmful, especially toward children."

"I do think that there are a lot of people that are just afraid to come out and support [the LGBTQ+ community] and that's why I'm here today," Wojciechowski added. "Don't be afraid, be out there, we have to show, we have to be there to support."


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