Kansas City’s Fight for Transgender Rights

As the White House seeks to redefine what gender is, many are voicing their concern about what this means for transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals. The looming possibility of this human rights loss is what’s spurring many into action in our local Kansas City area and across the nation. The hashtag #wewillnotbeerased grew out of reaction to this, and demonstrations broke out across the US. Parker Liu, a Kansas City native and student at the University of Kansas, was the founder of the rally which took place on October 27 and plays a pivotal part in planning next week’s rally.

Started by Mr. Liu and organized in under a week, the first rally turned out to be a major success. On October 27, approximately 300 attended the rally at the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain. People from across the KC Metro area, as well as Lawrence, Kansas, gathered to show their support for transgender and gender nonconforming rights.

The crowd gathered at the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain for the rally on October 27. Photo by Peaty Romano.

On November 20, which is Transgender Day of Remembrance, there will be a rally, march and vigil. The rally will begin at 6:00 p.m. at the Vietnam Memorial Fountain on the plaza, and at 6:30 p.m. those gathered will march to the Community Christian Church, where at 7:15 p.m. a candlelight will take place. The candlelight vigil afterwards is intended to be a gathering and mourning place for transgender and gender nonconforming folx, and it is asked that those cisgender persons who choose to attend this portion of the event be prepared and respectful. Several local groups are lending their support to the event, such as the Kansas City Center a Inclusion, Resist Hate KC, and 96.5 The Buzz. The organizers of this event have reached out to other major US cities, and believe that other events led by local LGBTQ+ organizations will most likely take place in cities such as New York and Los Angeles.

When asked what the nation should take away from the event, Mr. Liu said, “This movement is not just for transgender people - this is a rallying cry for our cisgender allies. There is enormous strength in numbers, and the trans community needs as much support as it can get. People need to realize that transgender people are human beings, just like everyone else. We're normal people that want to achieve our goals to live a full and happy life as who we are. You cannot erase 1.4 million American people. We refuse to stay silent and be forgotten.”

Honor Schleicher (left) and Parker Liu (right) pose with their signs at the rally on October 27. Photo by Peaty Romano.

While the elections have passed, that doesn’t mean that it’s time to become quiet on the issues that matter most to the American people. There’s still time to join the next rally, which is open to anyone looking to support the cause, using the link provided above. It’s time to stand up for the human rights of our fellow Americans, keeping in mind the message #wewontbeerased.