The Philly Trans* March will kick off at 3 p.m. Oct. 8 at Love Park, with supporters marching around City Hall and to Kahn Park in the Gayborhood.
The event was the brainchild of Christian Axavier Lovehall, who said he was eager to raise awareness about the numerous rights challenges facing the trans community.
“I was seeing a lot of marches in the city, like the Dyke March or the Slut Walk, and I felt like there needed to be some type of movement for trans individuals in Philadelphia,” Lovehall said. “There are a lot of rights that we don’t have right now that can make living in Philadelphia unsafe — like gender-neutral bathrooms and gender stickers on SEPTA passes — and I wanted to bring awareness to those issues to possibly create some change and make life a little bit easier for the trans community.”
Co-organizer Jess Kalup said the event will help fill a gap in trans-specific offerings in the city.
“We noticed that there was a lack of trans inclusion in events in general and not many events that focus on the trans population specifically — other than the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference — even though Philly has a very large trans community,” she said. “So we thought, what better way to do that than to have this celebratory march to bring together people of all genders to celebrate trans identities and people?”
Kalup noted that that celebratory atmosphere will be emphasized throughout the day.
“There have been events in the past that were more somber memorials to recognize certain things like transwomen of color who have been victimized by hate crimes, but this is our opportunity to take the other side of that,” she said. “This is going to be a fun, celebratory event to recognize all people — trans, gender-variant, gender-nonconforming — just everyone.”
The event will begin with a number of speakers at Love Park, and once the contingent reaches Kahn Park, there will be a series of live performances.
The march comes the day before OutFest and was scheduled to maximize the number of people attending and keep travel costs down for folks hoping to participate in both events.
“I think it’s going to be a very diverse crowd,” Lovehall said. “Unlike some of the other marches, with this we’re hoping to bring in allies, supporters, trans people, gender-nonconforming, gender-queer people. We want to create awareness about these issues we’re struggling with, so we want to have as much support as we can.”
Kalup, herself an ally, said she has been working to spread the word to a series of community organizations and leaders and is hopeful that several hundred will turn out for the event.
Lovehall said he envisions the march returning again in the future, but was unsure if it would become an annual event or a more frequent occurrence.
“After the march, I plan to implement an educational campaign because a lot of people are unaware of trans issues and identities and our job is to educate the masses,” he said. “I was inspired to do this from things like the civil-rights movement and they didn’t just stop at one march, but had lots of marches, walks, passed out information to the community. That’s what I’m looking to do.”
For more information on Philly Trans* March, visit www.phillytransmarch.com or search for the event on Facebook.
Jen Colletta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.