Thousands Flood the Streets of Brooklyn in Support of Trans Youth

Brooklyn Liberation's "emergency action" was a response to 2021's staggering uptick in anti-transgender legislation.

For the second year in row, New York City said trans lives matter.

This past Sunday (June 13), more than 2,000 people took to the streets of Brooklyn for an action in support of transgender youth. Organized by Brooklyn Liberation, the QTPOC-led activist collective behind last June's widely attended action for Black trans lives, the "emergency action" was a direct response to 2021's unprecedented surge in anti-transgender legislation across the United States.

Since January 1, Republican lawmakers nationwide have filed more than 100 pieces of legislation targeting trans youth, as well as a record-high number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills overall. Some of these bills, including particularly egregious bans on gender-affirming health care for minors in states like Arkansas, have already been signed into law. And that's not even factoring in the ongoing epidemic of hate-motivated violence against trans people. According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 28 transgender Americans have been violently killed this year alone.

"Everyone deserves agency, bodily autonomy, health care, and self-determination," Brooklyn Liberation wrote in its statement of intent. "Trans youth are who they say they are. Trans youth know their truth."

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 13: People listen to speakers during the Brooklyn Liberation's Protect Trans Youth event at the Brooklyn Museum on June 13, 2021 in the Brooklyn borough in New York City. Brooklyn Liberation organized a march and rally as an emergency action response to legislation to restrict trans rights across 34 states. According to the Human Rights Campaign, there have been over 250 bills introduced in state legislatures aimed at the LGBTQ community in 2021. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Sunday's action kicked off around 12pm local time with a rally outside the Brooklyn Museum in Prospect Heights (pictured above). The entire action was unpermitted and free of corporate sponsors in stark contrast to any of the city-sanctioned events during Pride Month put on by Heritage of Pride. Like last year, all attendees were asked to wear face masks, a precaution against COVID-19, and white clothing, an homage to a 1917 NAACP protest against anti-Black violence.

Six speakers took the podium at the Brooklyn Museum to address the crowd, including prominent transgender activists like student athlete Schuyler Bailar and Stonewall Protests organizer Qween Jean. Each speaker was a trans person under the age of 25, a testament to Brooklyn Liberation's goal of centering trans youth and providing a platform for them to share their stories. Their speeches were all livestreamed on Twitch.

"I am so grateful and honored to be holding space with you all today," Jean told the audience. "But we cannot only rely on the [trans] community, these phenomenal human beings, to generate action. It must come from you all as well.

"We are bearing witness to our own genocide," added Shéár Avory, another speaker, in their rousing address. "It is time for that to change. When I say, 'Who are we marching for?', I want you to say, 'Trans youth.'"

Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 13: A protestors carries a "Black Trans Youth Are The Future" during the Brooklyn Liberation: An action for Trans Youth March on June 13, 2021 in the Brooklyn Borough of New York City. On May 19, 2021 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo lifted all coronavirus pandemic restrictions paving the way for most Pride month events to resume normally. New York City Pride weekend will be June 25th-27th. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

The action then segued into a march through the streets of Brooklyn, ending with a concluding rally in Fort Greene Park. Prominent LGBTQ+ activists like GLITS Inc. founder Ceyenne Doroshow and the core organizers of Brooklyn Liberation were in attendance.

"Today was incredibly spiritual for me," tweeted Eliel Cruz, director of communications for the NYC Anti-Violence Project and an organizer with Brooklyn Liberation. "What a privilege it is to do my part."

Ahead of Sunday's action, Logo recognized nine organizers from Brooklyn Liberation as the recipients of our inaugural Logo Legend Award. Learn more about the incredible team behind these actions in the original documentary short below.