‘Day of Visibility’ celebrates trans people
April 20, 2017
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The Dolores Huerta Foundation’s Teens 4 Equality program, in collaboration with the Bakersfield LGBTQ, held a rally March 31 at the intersection of 24th Street and L Street in celebration of the International Transgender Day of Visibility. The International Transgender Day of Visibility is an an annual holiday dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of the discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide.
Allies of the transgender community gathered bearing signs and banners, and waved flags to show their support for transgender rights. There were a number of children and families in attendance who all had their own reasons for coming out to show support for the event.
Sarah King, who is an employee of the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault, handed out pamphlets to spread the word that the Alliance is a safe space for those in the transgender community. Transgender rights are an important issue to King because she is the parent of a transgender child. King’s daughter, who is a 6 -year-old elementary school student, has received support and understanding from her teacher and principal at school.
“She gets to go as herself and be called by her correct pronouns and her name. It’s really awesome,” said King. King’s daughter had previously kept the fact that she was transgender a secret from her classmates, but decided to honor the Transgender Day of Visibility by coming out to her classmates. “She’s been stealth at school. Today was the first day that she told them that she was transgender, and it was a little nerve-wracking. We’ll see what happens next.” Wendy Reed, who ran against Kevin McCarthy in the 2016 Congressional election, was also in attendance, traveling to Bakersfield from Tulare in order to participate in the rally.
“I came out because I think that people who understand that humans are born in a rainbow of genders, and that’s okay, need to stand with transgendered and all the gendered people because so many people won’t,” said Reed. “Those of us who understand need to come out and stand and say this is normal, this is natural. Acceptance is the message, and they deserve all the support they can get.”
The rally lasted from 4 to 6 p.m. and was widely well received. Many motorists honked their horns, gave a thumbs-up, or cheered as they passed through the busy 24th Street intersection. There were a few incidences of motorists holding up Trump signs or yelling “Trump” as they drove by. Those participating in the rally were unfazed and continued to chant messages of tolerance and support.
There is an unconfirmed report of a motorist firing shots from a bb-gun at rally participants as the event came to an end, but a police report was not filed. Rally participants and organizers were unwilling to speak on the record about the alleged event.