Hundreds Rally to Celebrate the Texas Transgender Community
By Samuel Stark
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of transgender folks and allies went to the Texas State Capitol on April 2 to celebrate and rally for the annual Transgender Day of Visibility.
Many in the crowd felt this celebration was exceedingly important due to Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent order to prosecute health care facilitators providing gender-affirming care for adolescents, classifying such treatment as child abuse.
Since Abbott sent his letter to the Texas Department of Family Protective Services on Feb. 22, there have been reports that some teenagers have been unable to receive gender-affirming treatment.
“Working with pediatricians and pediatrics, I’ve been hearing a lot of fear lately. A lot of uncertainty,” said Emily Arreaza, a practice manager at Grow Pediatrics in Austin.
“I want to support everybody and make sure all of our kids know that they’re not different from anybody else.”
Although attendees were saddened by the actions made by some Texas legislators, the event was a celebration. At one point, the stairs of the Capitol transformed into a dance floor with a performance from p1nkstar, a local pop musician
Some in the audience dressed in vibrant colors and used pride flags as capes. Many held signs with either messages of solidarity for the Texas transgender community or ones that decried Texas politicians whom they feel are working against them.
“There’s this misconception (because of the orders) that trans people are depressed. That they’re suicidal. That they don’t experience joy because they’re trans. In reality, it’s the opposite,” said Andrea Segovia of the Transgender Education Network of Texas, one of the groups that helped organize the event.
“Being joyful and being trans is part of the resistance.”
The event featured a diverse group of speakers. Remington Johnson, an ordained Presbyterian minister, spoke about the importance of community at the event.
Mayor Steve Adler expressed discontent with Abbott’s directives in his speech.
Arreaza has been disheartened by the recent legislation blocking transgender adolescents from gender-affirming health care, procedures that clinical psychologists say are effective. However, she continues to have hope for the future.
“Our kids are (going) to keep it up,” Arreaza said.
Transgender Day of Visibility is celebrated annually on March 31. Some cities hold their rallies on the nearest weekend.
For more information visit the Transgender Education Network of Texas website.