Trump administration LGBTQ protest in Boston
By: Al Gentile/TRT Reporter—
BOSTON—In below-freezing temperatures, hundreds from the LGBTQ and ally community took to the Massachusetts State House last month to stand against bigotry, inequality, and the Donald Trump administration.
It was at once a stand for solidarity and a call to action.
“Call [your legislators], tell them you support immigrant rights in Boston, you support Boston being a sanctuary city, and you support transgender rights and public accommodations here in the state of Massachusetts,” said Michelle Tat, one of the organizers of the demonstration.
More than 200 people of all ages, walks of life, and sexual and gender identities called for a rejection of the hateful rhetoric of the new administration.
Tat, a transgender woman, made it clear nothing can be done without further sustained action.
“We really need to convince the hearts and minds of folks here in Massachusetts,” she said. “Call them to talk to them and tell them you support equal rights here in Boston.”
Maxwell Eng, a queer transgender man and volunteer for the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC, www.masstpc.org), said the fight for equality goes beyond talking to legislators.
“Listen to your neighbors, to your coworkers, to the person who fixes your car, or sits across the aisle in your sociology class,” Eng said. “This is not going to be a fight with legislators and speeches, this is a fight that is going to be fought [around] kitchen tables, with pie.”
The event was sponsored by more than two dozen civil rights and equality organizations both in and outside the LGBTQ community. After several speakers took to the megaphone, School of HONK a local street band, led the charge through Boston Common and into other parts of the city.
Evan Greer, a queer activist singer/songwriter also performed several songs on guitar.
While marching, pansexual woman Asia Bridell told The Rainbow Times people living in the shadows out of fear need to know a community exists for them with open arms.
“Even if the people you’re closest with now won’t accept you, there are people here who will accept you,” Bridell said. “You can always find someone who will take you for you.”
To aid the marchers through the cold temperatures, Food Not Bombs-Boston/Cambridge, a grassroots collective of independent organizations who voluntarily supply vegan and vegetarian food for various causes, served a hot meal of spaghetti at the sight of the demonstration.
The sense of community present amid strangers was part of what Eng said he believes will bring true, lasting change.
“Only a stranger will deny our rights,” Eng said.
Afterwards, many demonstrators began chanting “No Strangers Left!”
Estrangement between people, along with other factors, is something Jaime Matheny said she believes is at the heart of the Trump administration.
“That kind of anger and derisiveness spreads down among people who believe what he says, and I fear for my safety and for the safety of my family with people who think Trump speaks the truth,” Matheny said. “I’m here to show support for the queer and trans [community] in the face of the upcoming presidency, which is horrific. It’s like watching a horror show. This is not the country I live in, this is not the country I believe in.”
A transgender woman by the name of Mitzzyanne, who did not provide a last name, said she was demonstrating for others.
“I have friends who have been killed by trans violence, and I’m here because of them,” she said. “I’m hoping love trumps hate, and I hope groups with like minds like this can help.”
The warmth of community and pulsing horn music brought happy faces and good cheer in a population which often feels disenfranchised and left behind, according to Eng.
“This beautiful queer community that has always understood equality in all its shades, because we are not political footballs,” Eng said. “The rights of me and my family are not up for debate; they are civil rights. They are unalienable rights, yet oppression knows no boundary.”
Another message, the need for the LGBTQ and ally communities to come together and stand in solidarity, was evident to Matheny.
“It’s hard to stand up for what’s right, but somebody has to do it, and this is why we’re put on this planet,” Matheny said. “To take care of each other and lift each other up.”