BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -
Community advocates gathered along one of the busiest intersections in Bakersfield with a strong message to end the on-going violence against transgender individuals.
The march happened at the same time as other major cities.
Dean Welliver is standing up for his transgender brothers and sisters.
“It’s important to me because transgender lives are important especially transgender women’s lives, they are the most often targeted and the most often to be murdered and their lives are important and they matter,” said Welliver.
Groups are taking to the streets marching for change and praying for justice.
“Really, violence against anyone isn’t right. Violence against trans people isn’t right. We shouldn’t be targeting individuals just because who they want to express themselves as,” said volunteer Josh Lofy.
According to a national study, transgender women face the most severe violence within the LGBTQ community with more than twenty homicides reported.
“I think because people are really bending gender and they are not living up to what society says their expectations are or what their cultures are and so people are afraid of that,” said Karen Pugh, pastor of Wesley United Methodist Church.
The rally in Bakersfield happened simultaneously as groups marched in Los Angeles and New York demanding justice for Islan Nettles, a slain transgender woman, beaten to death.
“People are not acceptable to people that are transgendered and we believe that some people like homophobic, there’s trans phobia meaning that someone you know is transgender that they are social accepted by some people,” said Daniel Landeros, community activist and organizer of the rally in Bakersfield.
Volunteers hope the rally can help raise awareness and educate the community about transgender issues.
“We live in a society, we need to all be accepted. That’s what this country is about, you know. It doesn’t matter if you’re religious, not religious, if you’re a different nationality, if you’re not born here and if you’re transgender, your lesbian, or gay, we should be accepted in society,” he said.
Organizers of the rally say more events are planned for the coming year.
Carlos is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carloscorrea23abc