Huge crowd rallies for Trans Pride Seattle as fight for rights for all starts Capitol Hill Pride weekend

With reporting by Emily Piette and Alex Garland

In what appeared to be the largest turnout ever for the event, thousands marched on Capitol Hill and rallied at Cal Anderson Park Friday night to celebrate Trans Pride in Seattle and remember those we came before to fight for human rights for all.

“Every motherfucking thing they took from us, we want it all,” echoed from the stage as poets J Mase III and Lady Dane Figueroa of the Black Trans Prayer Book implored the gathered crowd to reclaim the “whitewashed” legacy of Marsha P. Johnson, and Johnson’s role in the 1969 Stonewall uprising on the 50th anniversary of the watershed event in LGBTQ history and culture.

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Gender Justice League launches emergency fund for name, gender marker changes

A marcher at 2016 Trans* Pride (Image: CHS)

A marcher at 2016 Trans* Pride (Image: CHS)

With a Donald Trump presidency looming, the Gender Justice League is raising money for an emergency fund to help transgender people change their legal documents to correspond with their identities.

Danni Askini, executive director of the group, launched an online fundraising campaign for clinics to help people change their identification documents and to provide direct funds to trans people who can’t afford to make the legal changes.

“We need to prepare for the potential State-sanctioned discrimination that is to come,”Askini writes. “Having legal identification documents that correctly correspond to our identities is the first step in helping us navigate a Trump regime as smoothly as possible.” Continue reading

Trans* Pride 2016 dances through the rain on Capitol Hill

TransPride2016- - 3

An incredible downpour didn’t stop Trans* Pride — but it definitely made more than a few people including Gender Justice League organizer Danni Askini consider calling it a night to head somewhere warm and dry. Instead, they danced:

Again in 2016, a few thousand members of the LGBTQ communities and their allies joined the Trans* Pride March, ending at Cal Anderson Park. This year, the event came under the shadow of violence both far — and right here on Capitol Hill. As volunteers scrambled to set up the Trans* Pride rally grounds in Cal Anderson, Askini answered questions and stood by beating victim Michael Volz who described a horrible assault Wednesday night by an anti-trans attacker. “Part of our efforts to do things like Trans Pride Seattle is to create community and solidarity so that people do not feel isolated,” Askini said at the media conference.

During the rally, District 3 representative Kshama Sawant recalled the start of Trans* Pride in Seattle. “I remember only 2013 I was a candidate for City Council running as a socialist. Everybody thought that was crazy,” Sawant said. “People also thought it was crazy that was there was the first year we had our first Trans* Pride march and rally. And there was not a single politician here.”

“This year we forced the Seattle City Council — the entire Council — to declare today officially as Trans* Pride Day.”

Friday night, marchers came to support each other, to be visible, and because some say Sunday’s official Seattle Pride parade is overcrowded, commercial, and exploitative. Continue reading

Police investigate E Pike beating following Orlando benefit show as anti-trans hate crime

Police are investigating the reported beating of a person leaving a Capitol Hill benefit for Orlando Wednesday night as as a hate crime.

Friends and supporters have donated more than $10,000 to help support Michael Volz during recovery from injuries in Wednesday night’s reported anti-trans beating at 11th and Pike:

Dear community, It is with a heavy heart, deep sadness, and great rage, that I let you know our dear friend Michael M Volz was assaulted last night on capitol hill. Michael, myself, and a group of friends attended the fundraiser to benefit the pulse massacre last night at Neumos. Michael left a little bit before everyone to walk to their car and get ready for work in the morning. As Michael was walking to their car, they past the rose, and were approached by a white man in an orange sweatshirt with scruffy brown hair. The man said to Michael, Happy Pride, and began to assault Michael. As he, was punching and choking Michael, he said, “show me your tits you tranny cunt” Michael some how made it back to their house. Michael contacted myself and their friend Sharon. Sharon drove Michael to the hospital and I met them at the Emergency Room. Currently, michael is home. They have some stitches, abrasions, and a lot of bruising. We will need food and people willing to spend time with Michael over the weekend. Currently, we have care situated until early tomorrow afternoon. If you are available to bring food or company please contact us!

Michael wanted me to attach pictures because this is what transphobia looks like. pictures in comments.

Queer Tears
Queer Rage
Queer Feelings
Queer Resilience

According to Seattle Police, officers responded to a vehicle carrying the victim to investigate the incident around 2:15 AM Thursday morning. Police records show the beating was reported to have happened around 11:30 PM Wednesday night near 11th and E Pike following the Let Your Love Shine: A Queer Benefit For Orlando at Neumos.

UPDATE 4:45 PM: At a Friday afternoon media conference in Cal Anderson before the start of the 2016 Trans* Pride rally and march, Volz, who was still showing wounds from the attack, was accompanied by around 100 supporters and said the attack is part of “a climate of hate” against trans people.

“This is not an isolated incident, this is something that happens to our community frequently and we’re not going to take it anymore,” Volz said.

Volz said they were encouraged by all the people who have offered support.

“It is what great sadness and anger, quite frankly, that I have to stand here,” said SPD Deputy Chief Carmen Best.

Volz was joined by trans activist Danni Askini,founder of the Gender Justice League, who called on people to reject anti-trans bills in the state.

“All of us are in shock and fearful,” Askini said.

“Part of our efforts to do things like Trans Pride Seattle is to create community and solidarity so that people do not feel isolated,” Askini said.

Best said police have not identified a suspect and there is no known video from nearby businesses showing the incident.

Despite the number of Safe Places near the location of the attack, Best said it was not a reflection that the LGBTQ safety program was not working.

 

UPDATE 12:40 PM: Police announced Friday afternoon that the FBI is assisting the investigation of the crime and provided new details of the attack: Continue reading

With transgender politics on national stage, 11th Translations film festival to screen across Hill theaters

Major! -- a documentary about transgender activist Miss Major Griffin-Gracy -- opens the festival. Miss Major is slated to attend the Thursday night screening (Image: Major!)

Major! — a documentary about transgender activist Miss Major Griffin-Gracy — opens the festival. Miss Major is slated to attend the Thursday night screening (Image: Major!)

The 11th Translations, the Seattle Transgender Film Festival, will kick off three days after U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that the Justice Department is suing North Carolina for implementing its notorious bathroom law which implicitly prevents transgender individuals from using bathrooms per their identified gender — or lack thereof.

Transgender discrimination issues have been front in center in national public discourse over the past year, including here in Washington, where Initiative 1515 — a rebirth of a push in the Republican-controlled state legislature to roll back bathroom and locker room preference protections for transgender individuals in Washington — is picking up signatures to be put on the November ballot. So this year’s 11th annual Translations film festival will have particular political and social potent relevance.

Starting May 12th, this Thursday, theaters around Capitol Hill—including the Northwest Film Forum, SIFF’s Egyptian on Pine, and 12th Avenue Arts—screen over thirty films, both shorts and feature-length, concerning all things transgender and genderqueer. The first film of the festival is Major!, a documentary about the life and work of black transgender elder, veteran of the Stonewall Rebellion and activist Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, who advocates for trans women of color and against mass incarceration.

Among the slated films is One Word: Passing, a four minute short of interviews with transgender Seattleites responding to the word “passing,” the act of conforming to the expected appearances and behavioral traits of a cisgender man or woman while transgender or genderqueer. Gerri Desouza, an agender Art Design student at Seattle Central, First Hill resident, and volunteer at the Translations film festival, is one of the interviewees in the film. Continue reading

Seattle mayor signs executive order on transgender rights

Murray's signing ceremony (Image: City of Seattle)

Murray’s signing ceremony (Image: City of Seattle)

Mayor Ed Murray Thursday signed an executive order that will help Seattle City Hall make the city “fair, inclusive, and safe” for transgender and gender diverse people.

“We once again have folks down in Olympia, and in DC, and in other cities like Houston, trying to take us back to the cultural wars of the past,” Murray said Thursday. “This is a city that has moved on and this is a city that has led the nation before.”

Under the order, Seattle’s Office of Civil Rights will develop “culturally relevant trainings and guidelines” for City staff with help from community based organizations including the Pride Foundation.

“As a transgender man, I know that so few people personally know a transgender person, and it can be hard to understand what it means to be transgender — even for those trying to make sense of this issue calmly and reasonably,” Seth Kirby, vice chair of the Pride Foundation and executive director of Oasis Youth Center said in a statement. “We are part of your workplaces, classrooms, neighborhoods, families, churches, and communities — and we need to be able to use the restroom, just like everyone else.” Continue reading