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Transgender rights advocates march through downtown in protest

A+march+from+the+federal+courthouse+to+San+Jacinto+Plaza+was+held+on+Saturday%2C+July+29.
A march from the federal courthouse to San Jacinto Plaza was held on Saturday, July 29.

A march from the federal courthouse to San Jacinto Plaza was held on Saturday, July 29.

Gaby Velasquez

Gaby Velasquez

A march from the federal courthouse to San Jacinto Plaza was held on Saturday, July 29.

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Gaby Velasquez

Ray Dominguez de Salinas leads the march to San Jacinto Plaza.

El Pasoans gathered Saturday, July 29, to march downtown in support for Transgender rights. The march began at the Federal Court House and traveled to San Jacinto Plaza, where the organizers and other members of the community spoke on behalf of transgender rights.

The event was organized by Ray Dominguez, Chyna Fierro and Laura Moreno.

The goal of the march was to stand in support of transgender people in the military, as well as stand together against Texas’ Senate Bill 6, for its discriminatory clauses against the transgender community.

County Judge Veronica Escobar also joined the march and spoke on the importance of voting in order to make a difference and fight legislation.

“We are living through a really critical time in our country and we are seeing rights eroded at every level, and we are seeing people who have been traditionally marginalized who had sought some comfort under additional civil rights gains, are seeing those gains very quickly taken away,” Escobar said.

The latest infringement on transgender rights came last week when President Trump tweeted out that transgenders should not be allowed to serve in the military. Fierro doesn’t see that as fair and believes that everyone should have the same right to serve the country, gender aside. This proclamation by the president is the force behind the march.

“We should be able to fight for our rights too. Not just be standing here asking for our rights,” Fierro said. “We should be out there fighting for them too, and we should have the opportunity just like anybody in the military right now.”

Despite not identifying as trans, Dominguez is an advocate for their right to fight in the military. He is part of Sun City Pride board and helped create the march to create awareness about recent issues that have challenged the rights of transgenders.

He is also the son of a command army majar, who served two tours of duty in Vietnam and Korea and stands with the trans community and anyone who wants to serve.

“He (dad) always told me that he didn’t care what was going on with the human being next to him, as long as they could point and shoot and protect him,” Dominguez said. “Doesn’t matter what’s going on in your personal life, as long as you’re trying to serve your country, serve it. Now they’re trying to make it personal.”

Dominguez believes that the issue at hand goes beyond the violation of transgender rights.

“This is an infringement not just on trans rights, but we don’t know where this is leading to. It has been plain outspoken that he doesn’t like the Latino community, so what’s next? Latinos not serving in the military? Latinos not being able to have rights? And what’s after that? Women, because he doesn’t find them to be equals to him?” he said. “We as a community need to come together. I am just one person, but when we come together we can make a loud voice.”

Another organizer for the protest and spokesperson for the transgender community, Chyna Fierro, feels as if she’s never had rights and been made countless promises that don’t come through.

“I feel like I’m still waiting for my rights, for equality. Just being seen as a human being,” Fierro said.

The bathroom bill, which is currently being argued over by the Texas legislature would require everyone to use public restroom that corresponds to the sex of their birth. The bill specifically targets transgenders as they would not be allowed to use the restroom in accordance to the gender they identify with.

“For 37 years I stayed quiet. I didn’t want anyone to mess with me, but by staying quiet they are messing with me. I can’t use the restroom in peace. Texas tried to pass this damn law that’s trying to tell me where I can go to the bathroom,” Fierro said.

Escobar sees this legislative bill as a reflection of low participation in politics, and as a call for citizens to do more than just vote.

“We are at a critical point in our country where we can’t just vote. It is no longer enough just to cast our own ballot, we have to engage and participate in campaigns,” Escobar said.

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Transgender rights advocates march through downtown in protest