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I Hosted A #WontBeErased Rally Deep In The Heartland & This Is What It Was Like

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I hosted the #WontBeErased rally in Oklahoma City on November 3rd. It was my first time organizing and the first time a trans and intersex rights rally had ever been put on in this red, heartland state.

When the New York Times article containing the leaked memo from the Trump administration concerning the government’s definition of gender, I felt angry and scared. I identify as non-binary and began my transition earlier this year.

“I knew I couldn’t just sit by and let my right to exist be trampled, so I decided that I wanted to go to the Oklahoma State Capitol and protest.”

I knew I couldn’t just sit by and let my right to exist be trampled, so I decided that I wanted to go to the Oklahoma State Capitol and protest. I made a Facebook event and invited around a dozen friends. Within a few hours, several hundred people had already marked that they were interested in attending. By that evening, Freedom Oklahoma, PFLAG, and the Diversity Center had already reached out and offered me assistance in organizing the protest.

I quickly learned that there is a lot that happens behind the scenes when planning a rally. We had to find sound equipment, a stage, speak with the media, apply for permits and hire security for the event. All of this totaling to several thousand dollars in needed funds.

With only about a week to put all of this together, I utilized the assistance of dozens of community members who volunteered to make sure everything ran smoothly.

And it did run smoothly. At the rally, we had around 300-500 people in attendance. All of our speakers showed up on time and gave beautiful, heart-wrenching calls to action. Our equipment worked and there weren’t even any counter-protestors present.

When it was my turn to get on stage and thank our sponsors and attendees, I had to fight back tears. As a lifelong Oklahoman, I had never seen that many transgender people in one place. I had never seen that many people gathered together to say that we mattered and that we belonged here.

While it still remains to be seen how the leaked memo will be implemented into policy, I feel hopeful that the majority of Americans will stand beside transgender, intersex and gender variant citizens. We will not be erased.

Syd Stephenson

Oklahoma '20

Syd is an LGBTQ Studies junior at the University of Oklahoma. Currently, they are the senior editor for Her Campus, OU and a national blogger for Her Campus. After college, Sawyer hopes to work in journalism, the non-profit sector or as a lawyer. Previously, they were the assistant engagement managing editor and copy editor at the OU Daily. In their free time, they love to rock climb, exercise, read books about food, play with their cat Pizza, and put stickers on everything.
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