Over 100 people gathered at the Newark Avenue Pedestrian Plaza in Jersey City earlier today in support of transgender rights after the President Donald Trump administration revoked federal bathroom guidelines in public schools.
The event was co-organized and emceed by Jersey City LGBTQ activist Michael Billy, who routinely led a chant of “when Trans youth are under attack, what do you do? Stand up, fight back!,” first introduced 10-year-old transgender student Rebekah Bruesehoff who gave her perspective.
“The president has been mean to all types of people, not only trans kids or equal rights. We all need to come together and stand for equal rights. To any transgender kids out there, I hope your school supports you, but if it doesn’t, we will fight for you,” Bruesehoff said.
Sedrick Giacomb, a transgender male student from Bayonne High School, gave a spirited speech about although it may not feel like it now, love and support is always out there for transgender kids.
“You should be proud! Proud to love yourself! And if somebody says they hate you, keep it moving ‘cuz you got yourself together! And do what you gotta do to deserve to be the man or female you’re supposed to be!,” he exclaimed.
Additional speakers included West Point Army veteran Sue Fulton and her friend only identified as Riley, an openly transgender West Point cadet.
At the tail end of the program, Garden State Equality Executive Director Christian Fuscarino, the other event co-organizer, introduced Joe Maldonado: a nine-year-old boy who made national headlines for getting kicked out of a Secaucus Boy Scouts troop for being transgender.
The national organization has since changed their stance on the issue and Maldonado has re-entered the scouts in Essex County. His remarks were succinct and to the point.
“Boo discrimination!,” he said to loud cheers. “Why has this been a rule, like what kind of rule is this? I think it matters what kind of bathroom you go in. I think transgenders deserve to go in the boys or the girls bathroom or whatever they feel,” he said.
On Wednesday, Trump rescinded protections that allowed transgender students to use the school bathrooms of the gender they identify with (h/t The New York Times).
Despite this fact, individual school districts are still currently free to make their own rules and regulations regarding transgender students and bathrooms.