​Queer Student Union holds March for Trans Students and Kids

Approximately 100 people gather to support transgender rights

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Chants included lines such as “no justice, no peace,” “trans voices matter,” “trans rights are human rights” and “this is what democracy looks like.”

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

Approximately 100 students, faculty and community members gathered at the Rotunda Sunday for the University Queer Student Union’s March for Transgender Students and Kids.

The event comes in wake of the Trump administration’s decision this past week to rescind national protections for transgender students that allows them to use the bathroom corresponding to their gender.

“These bills, whether they can be enforced or not … put fear into people’s hearts,” community member Bridget Graves said.

The march opened at the base of the Rotunda steps facing the Lawn as participants chanted “no hate, no fear, trans students welcome here.” Soon after, some members of the University and greater Charlottesville transgender community delivered personal remarks from the Rotunda steps and highlighted QSU’s denouncement of President Donald Trump’s actions this week.

Natalie Hunt, one of the opening speakers and a fifth-year Engineering student, said the University should continue improving for transgender and gender-nonconforming students.

“This is the only place where I’m surrounded by people who see me as me, who love me for me,” Hunt said. “It needs to stay like that, and it needs to get better than it already is.”

After the opening remarks from speakers concluded, participants — led by students from QSU — marched down the Lawn and over to McCormick Road.

Chants included lines such as “no justice, no peace,” “trans voices matter,” “trans rights are human rights” and “this is what democracy looks like.”

The march concluded on the steps of Peabody Hall where Natalie Snitzer, a second-year College student and the QSU trans advocacy chair, reiterated demands for the University administration to protect transgender and gender-nonconforming students’ rights on and off Grounds. Snitzer’s words were met with cheers from fellow participants at the close of the march.

Snitzer said QSU had to be “spontaneous and robust” in planning the event.

“[Planning the march] felt very natural and there were a lot of people who were really fired up about this situation, about this issue,” Snitzer said. “So it wasn’t very hard to find people who were excited to join in and give their support.”

Snitzer said she has found some support at the University, especially from members of QSU and from University Housing and Residence Life.

“[HRL] accommodated my needs perfectly,” Snitzer said.

However, Snitzer said changing her name and gender pronouns in the University’s SIS and Collab systems was more difficult.

“There were some barriers to me being like every other student here,” she said.

In an interview with The Cavalier Daily, third-year College student Jamie Swanson said he came to the march to support a friend. As a cis-gendered male, he said he identified as an ally for the transgender community.

When asked what he took away from the march, Swanson said, “there is a community who supports transgendered people and minority groups in general. You know, it’s relatively small but it’s there and that’s important.”

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