A march to address transgender and queer issues in the Beacon area and elsewhere took place yesterday.
Reports of a right-wing activist sending threatening messages have left Beacon LGBTQ+ residents and their allies fearful. Nationwide, bills in state legislatures threaten to curb transgender rights.
The march started at Memorial Park and went through the neighborhood where many residents faced the alleged death threats before culminating in a Speak Out at Polhill Park.
This event gave locals in the LGBTQ+ community the chance to speak their truth.
One of those locals was Alisha Kohn, director of the queer justice committee for the Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center.
“I’m tired of not feeling safe,” she said. “I’m sick and tired of having to read on social media: another trans woman has been murdered.”
Murders of transgender individuals in 2020 surpassed the total in 2019. This year is already on track to be deadlier than last.
Additionally, a study from the Trevor Project found that suicidal thoughts are unfortunately common in LGBTQ+ youth.
Forty percent of respondents reported suicidal thoughts, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth.
Social worker Emily Joslin-Roher, who specializes in issues affecting the transgender community, weighed in.
“Our culture still works in a gender binary,” she said. “When we get messages that there is something wrong because of how we feel about ourselves inside, it is confusing.”
Despite these struggles, locals in the LGBTQ+ community forge along.
Local drag queen Amber Guesa took to the mic to declare that the community is here to stay, no matter what anyone else says.
“We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it,” she said.