Hundreds turn out in Madison, WI for Day of Resistance to Trans Genocide
Madison, WI – 400 people braved snowy conditions to join the Day of Resistance to Trans Genocide rally on March 18. The rally, organized by a grassroots coalition from southern Wisconsin, was held to demonstrate stalwart opposition to the recent flood of anti-trans legislation, rhetoric and violence across the United States.
Earlier this year, far-right commentator Michael Knowles announced at the Conservative Political Action Conference that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.” Since the beginning of 2023, over 400 bills have been introduced into state legislatures across the country, including bills that would legally define womanhood via biology, ban gender-affirming care for minors, block insurance companies from paying for gender-affirming care, and in some cases even allow the removal of children from parents for allowing access to gender-affirming care.
Connolly, going by an alias for personal protection as one of the event organizers in light of the present conditions, said, “A lot of people just aren’t aware of the extent of the anti-trans legislation and how bad it is. The right likes to frame it as protecting children, but a lot of actors on the right have stated openly that their end goal is banning transition-related care for everyone of all ages. We are trying to make a visual impact that can’t be ignored so people have to at least be aware of what is happening.”
They hope that this can help prevent Wisconsin from taking the same path as other states, saying, “It is also important for the trans community to come together with allies and to see that there are people that do care and who are trying to stop this absolutely horrifying legislation from coming to Wisconsin.”
The rally started at Library Mall on the UW Madison campus. The crowd marched down the middle of State Street chanting “Defend trans lives!” and “Protect trans kids’ right to exist!” Volunteers linked arms to block busy intersections, allowing marchers to pass through on their way to the state capitol building. The march was led by a group of young people which included members of the Gay-Straight Alliance from a nearby middle school. The head of the march saw people carrying coffins representing deaths that will occur due to recent legislation.
“Banning gender-affirming care will lead to deaths. It will lead to deaths by suicide,” said Connolly. “If you withdraw hormone replacement therapy from someone who is on it, it leads to health problems plus psychological problems associated with having to be forcibly detransitioned.”
The march ended at the Lady Forward statue in front of the state capitol. Several speakers, including poet, activist and drag queen SunShine Raynebow, and Dina Nina, candidate for alderperson in Madison, focused on the joy of trans lives, the rights of trans people to exist publicly, and the need to recognize the scale and intent of anti-trans legislation.
“The Lemkin Institute, which was founded by the person who coined the word genocide, has said that this is a genocide in progress. So we are not exaggerating when we use the word genocide,” said Connolly. “I have seen people say, ‘I agree with you but you shouldn’t use the word genocide.’ If you support us, you have to support us without that ‘but.’”