Hundreds protest in Tucson on Transgender Day of Visibility

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 5:55 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 9:07 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) -On Friday, people in Tucson and all over the country rallied together and stood up for the rights of transgender people.

It’s called the Transgender Day of Visibility. It comes as the LGBTQ+ community is denouncing what they call an increasingly hostile environment towards them.

In Arizona, lawmakers are considering several bills hostile to them. Those include SB 1040, which bans transgender students and staff from using school restrooms that match their gender identity. SB 1026 bans state money from being used for drag shows designed as an all-ages performance -- including drag story hours.

SB 1001 would ban teachers from using the preferred pronouns of a trans or non-binary student without parents’ permission. SB 1005 would allow parents to sue schools if they provide support to LGBTQ+ students.

The rally in Tucson was about the people fighting against these bills and being seen and heard. Hundreds of people of all ages attended. They held an open mic and many held signs showing support for trans rights.

Lawmakers in favor of bills like SB 1040 say it will protect non-trans youth from dealing with people of the opposite sex in private spaces.

“It’s not only protecting the kids physically, but it’s also protecting their hearts, their minds because they’re having to deal with that and their souls,” said Rep. Lupe Diaz, a supporter of the bills. “It goes beyond just protecting them physically. I think we need to look at the whole holistic approach to being able to protect the kids.”

There were people of all ages at the rally Friday, many of them students like Mikey Shock, who was also one of the organizers.

″It’s important that all of our stories come together and that we unite to fight back so that we can gain liberation and a better life for all of us,” Shock said. “We will continue to embrace who we are and you will never eradicate us. You will never get rid of us and no matter what you do, we will continue to fight back and you will never take us off of this planet.”

The organizers said they do feel like there is a narrative surrounding these bills about protecting children from trans people or from others in the LGBTQ+ community, but many of them feel that lawmakers should focus more on protecting students from things like gun violence instead.

Despite the progress that has been made, the people who are here today say there is still a long way to go when it comes to protecting trans rights.