People rallied at the U.S. Army Career Center in Times Square on Wednesday evening to protest President Trump’s controversial ban on transgender military personnel. They chanted "Resist" and promised action against the ban.
People rallied at the U.S. Army Career Center Times Square Wednesday evening to protest President Trump’s controversial ban on transgender military personnel.
Before the protest began at 5 p.m., police prepared by putting barriers around the U.S. Army Career Center in Times Square.
Eunic Ortiz, co-chair of Equality New York, started several of the chants and introduced each of the speakers. She announced that representatives from Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio's offices were in attendance.
“I did not pick who I would choose to serve my country for," said Tanya Walker, a trans veteran and activist who spoke at the rally.
Tanya Walker, trans veteran and activist who spoke at the rally, said that healthcare for transgender military members won't cost as much as Trump says it will. In fact, no studies have been done about how much extra it will cost for transgender people to serve, she said. She led protesters in a chant, "don't believe the hype."
Mel Wymore, a transgender man running for New York City Council, hopes to be the first transgender councilmember in the country. He spoke at the rally, saying, “Trump made it clear he does not want people serving like me…He is raising a generation of children who believe the country hates them.”
"Whatever type of ban (Trump) decides to enact—the Muslim ban, travel ban, the transgender ban—it’s not that he is really afraid that transgender people will be a disruption. He is afraid that they’re just like us,” Peppermint, a former contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race, said.
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, a gay man, spoke at the rally, saying that New York City has one of the largest LGBT caucuses in America.
Brad Hoylman, the only openly gay senator in the NY State Senate, said that the mission is to overturn the ban and get Trump out of the White House. “We are in a crisis,” he said.
“The blatant homophobia of (Trump's) administration is dangerous,” said Melissa Mark-Viverito, the speaker of the New York City Council.
Credit: Brendan J. O’Reilly/DansPapers.com
Peter, a man discharged from the military 20 years ago due to the “don't ask don't tell” policy, spoke at the rally.
“All of us stand here together, and we have the ability to resist because of the transgender community,” public advocate Letitia James said.
“This is not just an attack on transgender military members, this is an attack on the entire U.S. military,” Councilmember Corey Johnson said.
The crowd cheered as they were told that representatives from de Blaiso and Cuomo's office were both in attendance.
A few Hillary supporters came to the rally to protest against Trump.
“America is everyone’s right to be who they want to be, to serve their country with honor, by defending our right to love who we want to love…and everything else, especially democracy as a whole,” protester Christopher Gagliardi said.
Z Klofta, a transgender and binary person from Union County, NJ who goes by “they, them” pronouns was sobbing at the rally. “I feel like our government is going backwards, and to take away the opportunity for people to fight in an army to protect it just doesn’t make any sense to me. We need to be spoken about, we need to be advocated for, because trans people’s voices versus some voices of color aren’t as loud,” they said.