Students, community members rally support during Trans Day of Visibility


Sydney Laput

Rebecca Kimberly Goodman, senior in FAA, holds the transgender flag while standing beside the Alma Mater statue during the Trans Solidarity Rally on Thursday. The rally was organized by CUTES and YDSA, and was held as celebration for Trans Day of Visibility.

By Kiran Bond, Contributing Writer

A pink, blue and white transgender pride flag taped to Alma Mater’s hand blew in the wind as nearly 100 transgender individuals and allies gathered early Thursday evening to celebrate Transgender Visibility Day at a solidarity rally organized by the Campus Union for Trans Equality and Young Democratic Socialists of America RSOs. 

In the midst of falling ice pellets, wind gusts, near-freezing temperatures and emergency vehicle sirens was a celebration of transgender life and pride. Many people were holding signs with messages such as “we say gay” and “trans rights are human rights.” 

Rebecca Kimberly Goodman, senior in FAA, waltzed up to the rally with a smile on her face and a transgender flag billowing behind her. Goodman opened her speech with a prideful statement.

“Hi everyone! My name is Rebecca and I am glad to be a trans woman,” Goodman yelled, her voice echoing across Green Street. 

Neil Dey, sophomore in LAS, and Tori Lawlor, sophomore in ACES, hold signs in support during the Trans Solidarity rally on Thursday. (Sydney Laput)

A total of five speeches were given and each one was deeply passionate. In between speeches, chants were led by CUTES president Azer Matten. 

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“We are here! We are queer! We will not disappear!” Matten chanted. “When trans rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up! Fight back!”

By the conclusion of the rally, many were riled up and smiling ear to ear. Tris Dinh, junior in FAA, talked about what this rally meant to them and recalled their past.

“I struggle with supportive parents, so having a community here is good for me,” Dinh said. 

Goodman reflected on trans acceptance and why she felt called to speak at the rally.

“Generally around here (on campus), it’s pretty ok, but that doesn’t reflect what’s going on with the whole country,” Goodman said. “People from my community are hurting elsewhere. It’s part of my responsibility to help them out.” 

Goodman is also a member of CUTES. She talked about why she likes being in the RSO. 

“It’s really nice to have a safe space for trans people made by trans people,” Goodman said.

CUTES is the only transgender-centered organization on campus. Matten spoke of the club’s importance.

“Over the years, we have built up members who can help people find resources and also a community, especially in an extremely large campus where it can be hard to find people like yourself,” Matten said.

Matten also explained why CUTES and YDSA felt called to organize the rally.

“We felt a call to action because of all of the recent anti-trans laws,” Matten said.

Goodman acknowledged the transphobic laws in her speech.

“From our need for our survival to denying the right to use the god d—- bathroom, all of this should have been laid to rest,” Goodman said. “And it infuriates me that we have to debate our own rights to exist.”

Transgender individuals have a long history of facing discrimination. In the wake of many bills that bring transgender rights into question, Sarah Lynn, a speaker at the rally, referred to the recently-passed Florida bill HB 1557, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

“Florida legislature has caused outrage nationwide with its passage of HB 1557. The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill effectively prevents the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida schools through the 3rd grade,” Lynn said.

Siddhartha Perry, another speaker, explained that bills like this are being passed everywhere in the country. 

“Texas, Idaho, Alabama, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Missouri and nine other states are pushing legislation to restrict access to gender-affirming care for transgender youth,” Perry said. 

Marisa Romanelli, graduate student studying in Engineering, holds artwork she made for the rally on Thursday. (Sydney Laput)

In June of 2020, a law passed in Idaho became the first of its kind to ban transgender women from playing on women’s sports teams. Just one day before Thursday’s rally, Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt signed an identical bill into law.

This decision came after Lia Thomas, a NCAA Division I athlete and transgender woman, controversially won a title at the Swimming and Diving Championship. 

Matten knew all of this but still stood in pride and without fear. 

“I stand here, visibly queer … knowing that there are still governors trying to erase our existence and push us into the shadows,” Matten said. “I stand here asking all of you to help us in this fight and help our voices be heard. With your help, I will continue to stand here. We will continue to stand here, and be visible.”


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