JEFFERSON CITY – Nearly 40 people rallied around the capital building April 8 for an existence march to bring visibility and awareness to gender and sexual minorities.
The rally was organized by two local 8th graders and a sophomore from St. Louis. The idea of the march began after President Trump’s executive order which allowed each state to pass their own laws regarding the usage of public bathrooms by transgender people.
“My queer friends and I were experiencing an insane amount of inequality, alienation, harassment, and assault that was influenced by our identities and orientations,” said Blue Petty, one of the existence march’s organizers.
The main goal of this march was to help show that transgender, intersex, genderfluid, agender, genderqueer, QTPoC, queer, pansexual, and any other gender non-conforming people exist. Many of the marchers were teenagers of these identities, but many adults and supporters marched as well. “The more people that understand, the less inequality and hate there will be.” said Petty.
The marchers were met some with some opposition, however, the marchers were not phased “We just held our signs higher, chanted louder” said Petty “and we kept on walking”.
“A lot of people don’t understand us right now because they’re uneducated on what it means to be queer, and misunderstanding often leads to hate and fear” said Petty “We try to combat that by showcasing who we are so more people can try to understand and strike up conversations or ask questions about us.”