Protesters criticize anti-trans legislation at Washington Square Park

The crowd gathered in protest of legislation preventing trans youth from accessing gender-affirming care across various U.S. states.


Jason Alpert-Wisnia

(Jason Alpert-Wisnia for WSN)

Adrianna Nehme and Bruna Horvath

Dozens of protesters, primarily high school students, marched from Union Square to Washington Square Park to raise awareness about anti-transgender bills being proposed across the country on Thursday. At the gathering, which was organized by the student-led NYC Youth 4 Trans Rights, attendees spoke to the crowd about their experiences with trans rights issues.

In the last few years, state legislatures across the country have advanced bills attacking LGBTQ+ rights and transgender youth. Most recently, Florida passed a bill that removed access to gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth, barring minors from being prescribed puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy. At least 18 other states are considering similar policies.

Mina, a high school student who helped organize the protest, said that they will not stand for transphobic government policies and will continue to protest until they see change.

“Transphobia is not something that doesn’t happen anymore, and it’s not something that we don’t have to worry about,” Mina said. “It’s something that is actively going on all the time, and it is dangerous, unacceptable and I hope people learn that we have to stop it now. If we don’t come out here and if we don’t stop it now, it will not stop and trans people will literally be illegal and that’s horrible.”

The youth organization also participated in a walkout on Friday, Feb. 17 to mourn the death of Brianna Ghey — a 16-year-old transgender girl who died after being stabbed by two teenagers in England. Ghey’s murder is being investigated as a hate crime by British authorities. 

Noemi Israelsohn, a former NYU student, attended the protest and said it was important to look at the positive side of trans experiences in the face of hatred and negativity. 

“Visibility is important, we are not just numbers and we are not just horror stories,” Israelsohn said. “We have life, we have vitality, we have all this to give to the world in our communities, and it just sucks that because of who we are, we are not allowed to do that.”

Contact Adrianna Nehme at [email protected] and Bruna Horvath at [email protected].