Thousands Dismiss Social Distancing in Brooklyn for Pro-Black Transgender Rally

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 14: Isaiah Alan (C), 26, dances in support of those marching on June 14, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Protests continue all around the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody on May …
Michael Noble Jr./Getty Images

On the same day that thousands of protesters gathered around the Brooklyn Museum in New York to show their support for blacks who want to live as the opposite sex, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday warned that customers flocking to restaurants and bars in the state could lead to another coronavirus lockdown.

“Governor Andrew Cuomo warned New Yorkers against triggering a second wave of the coronavirus, singling out bars and restaurants in Manhattan and the Hamptons as the worst offenders among 25,000 complaints filed to the state,” Bloomberg reported.

“We are not going to go back to that dark place,” Cuomo said.

Aerial views posted on social media show people packed like sardines at the Brooklyn protest. 

“Live from the Brooklyn Museum,” the tweet accompanying a video of the crowd said. “Massive protest. Seen Boomers, Millennials, Gen X, Gen Z, etc. Seen Black, White, Asian, Native — you name it.”

“Every type of New Yorker. Gathered to say #BlackTransLivesMatter,” the tweet said. “Power to the people.”

CNN reported on the Brooklyn protest, which coincided with other protests in New York City that also swelled to thousands, all part of the nationwide response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died at the hands of the Minneapolis police on Memorial Day:

Black transgender activist Raquel Willis stood on the deck of the Brooklyn Museum on Sunday and led thousands of protesters in a chant.

“I believe in my power,” she said, as people in the crowd echoed the words back. “I believe in your power. I believe in our power. I believe in black trans power.”

The Black Trans Lives Matter rally in New York, one of many nationwide, came after two black trans women — Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, 27, of Philadelphia, and Riah Milton, 25, of Cincinnati, Ohio — were murdered last week.

There have been 14 reported murders of trans and gender non-conforming people — including Fells and Milton — since the start of 2020, according to the Human Rights Campaign. But the number of deaths of trans people are likely undercounted, the Human Rights Campaign said in its report on anti-transgender violence in the US in 2019.

“We can’t just talk about trans people when they’re dying,” Eliel Cruz, one of the co-organizers of the event, told CNN. “But what are we doing actively and intentionally.”

“This collective of folks is particularly powerful because it’s modeling what is possible when you do have allies and folks who do care and also want to make sure that they’re building something that speaks to the hearts of the actual people that they’re representing,” Willis told CNN. “So often that doesn’t happen.”

According to the United States National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, the risk of homicide for transgender people is lower than people who are not transgender, but the risk of homicide for black and Latino people who want to live as the opposite sex is slighter higher than that for biological women, whom the government agency refers to as “cisfeminine:”

The overall homicide rate of transgender individuals was likely to be less than that of cisgender individuals, with 8 of 12 RR estimates below 1.0. However, the homicide rates of young transfeminine Black and Latina residents were almost certainly higher than were those of cisfeminine comparators, with all RR estimates above 1.0 for Blacks and all above 1.0 for Latinas.

According to an article on the Human Rights Campaign website, transgender individuals make up about 0.3 percent of the U.S. population.

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