Over 700 march in Philadelphia for trans justice

By Betsey Piette
October 14, 2019

Chanting “We’re here, we’re queer, we’re fabulous, don’t f–k with us,” over 700 LGBTQ+ people and their supporters marched through West Philadelphia on Oct. 12 for Philly Trans March 2019.  The march, led by Black and Brown transgender women, received wide support in the predominantly Black neighborhoods along 52nd Street.

Other chants included “What do we want? Liberation! When do we want it? Now!” “Prison abolition is trans liberation!” and “How do you spell racism?  I.C.E.!”

People carried signs with the pictures and names of 13 trans women of color killed in Philadelphia, six in the last six years. The most recent was Tamika Washington, a Black transgender activist shot to death in May.  Many signs read, “Stop Killing Black Trans Women.”

At a rally in Malcolm X Park preceding the march, organizers explained that they chose the community setting to drive home the point that many trans women were murdered and attacked when they were coming or going to work or coming home after an evening out.  Speakers strongly appealed to the community to resist this violence and defend Black trans women, and they denounced legislative and judicial efforts to restrict and target trans people.

The final speaker before the march kicked off was Pennsylvania political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal in a recorded message linking violence against trans women to the rise of white supremacy and fascism.  He stated, “We need to build a radical movement that protects all of us, for all of us, that consigns such racist violence to the trash heap of history.”

(Photo: Joe Piette)