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Transgender Day of Visibility rally held at Minnesota State Capitol

On Trans Day of Visibility, advocates rejoice, reflect
On Trans Day of Visibility, advocates rejoice, reflect 02:21

MINNEAPOLIS -- Across the country, Friday is a day to celebrate the accomplishments and victories of transgender and gender non-conforming people. It's the international Transgender Day of Visibility, which was founded in 2009.

Minnesota lawmakers recently passed legislation, which Gov. Tim Walz signed into law, that aimed to make Minnesota a "refuge" for transgender people. Those pushing the legislation forward said it would protect trans patients and providers of gender-affirming care from legal action in other states where such care is banned or restricted, creating a safe haven in Minnesota.

Walz had earlier signed an executive order designed to protect gender-affirming care.

Officials also used Friday to remind residents that Minneapolis was the first American city to bar gender identity-based discrimination through amendments made to the Civil Rights Ordinance in 1975. It was also the first city to have two Black transgender members of its city council.

"As the only Black Trans woman elected to public office in the United States, I want to say Happy Transgender Day of Visibility," said Minneapolis Council President Andrea Jenkins. "At a time when the transgender community, especially our young people, are experiencing deep pain from having our rights jeopardized by legislatures across the country, I am proud to say the City of Minneapolis and the State of Minnesota is a welcoming community that will see you, respect you, and honor your right to live and be treated with dignity and respect."

Mayor Frey also said that he was proud to work alongside Jenkins, and said the holiday is a "day to uplift and celebrate the accomplishments of our transgender and gender non-conforming community."

There will also be a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol on Friday.

"In our country right now, anti-trans legislation is sweeping most of our states," said Maia Pruim, a trans woman and LGBTQ+ case manager at Avenues for Youth, a Minneapolis-based program helping homeless people ages 16-24. "50% of trans youth live in a state that's already banned gender-affirming care or considering banning gender-affirming care."

Pruim says this impact is not unnoticed.

"Families across the country are fleeing here," Pruim said. "They're coming here to have lifesaving mental health care. They're coming here to have healthcare in general."

In some cases, Avenues for Youth does outreach work with the local homeless population. Such was the case for J, an 18-year-old trans man and former client. 

J says a disagreement with family led to a brief time of homelessness, before connecting with Avenues for Youth. 

"Just trying to navigate myself and know who I am. It was a very hard journey but having Maia and these resources really helped me to become the young adult that I am now," J said. 

As the state recognizes the Trans Day of Visibility, both say it's a time to remember there is still work to be done. 

"It's about love," Pruim said. "It's about knowing that we're people, who have different joys, loves and relationships outside of just the fact that we're trans."

On the national scene, President Biden on Friday called for an end to attacks on transgender Americans. He says the Administration is providing emergency mental health resources especially for young people. They can call 988, then press 3 to speak with a counselor trained to support LGBTQIA+ youth.

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