A diverse crowd of more than 200 people rallied in downtown Boston Thursday night to protest President Trump’s decision to roll back federal guidelines allowing transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity.
The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition organized the 6 p.m. gathering in Post Office Square less than 24 hours after Trump reversed a signature policy of his predecessor, former president Barack Obama.
“I am honestly moved to tears by this amazing turnout,” said Mason Dunn, the coalition’s executive director. “This is powerful and I hope the message and numbers we have today were seen and heard by transgender youth.”
The crowd, which included mothers with young children and seasoned LGBTQ activists, stood for about an hour, chanting and waving signs to denounce Trump’s decision. Motorists honked horns in support.
“Me and my three kids came here because we think that it’s so important to have schools that are safe for everyone,” said Lida Maxwell, 39, of Jamaica Plain.
She said that her daughter was enrolled in Boston public schools and soon her sons will be, too.
“My heart was broken when I heard the news,” said Maxwell. “It made me really sad for all of those kids who deserve affirmation for who they are.”
Tim Clancy of West Roxbury said he was standing for his transgender brother, who was in school at the time of the rally.
“When anyone’s rights are taken, we are all threatened,” said Clancy. “People coming together is what our society was built upon.”
Clancy said he hopes people who don’t have transgender relatives stand in solidarity with them.
“Just because [someone may not] be personally affected, doesn’t mean [they] should tap out,” he said.
Transgender students in Massachusetts will not be directly affected by the federal guidelines, unlike students in other states.
Governor Charlie Baker in July signed into law a transgender public accommodations law that allows people in Massachusetts to use bathroom facilities based on their gender identity.
Still, local LGBTQ activists and others planned the rally to show their support for transgender students.
“My goal was to make sure that transgender youth know that they are not alone,” said Dunn, 31, of Peabody.
The coalition plans to hold another rally on March 5, at a location still to be determined, Dunn said.