Thousands of protesters gather at the Stonewall Inn demanding an end to the murder of Black trans people
New York’s Stonewall Inn became a place of protest once more as thousands gathered to demand justice for the deaths of Tony McDade and Nina Pop.
Tony McDade was shot and killed by a white police officer in Florida on May 27. Nina Pop was found stabbed to death in her apartment in Missouri on May 3. Both were victims of the shocking “epidemic of violence” that disproportionately targets trans people of colour in the US.
As the LGBT+ community joins in solidarity against police brutality, activists have called for Black transgender people to be honoured as part of the Black Lives Matter movement sweeping across America and the world.
Standing on a bench near the Stonewall Inn on Monday (June 1), Black trans femme Ianne Fields addressed a gathering crowd: “Black trans women have given y’all culture! Have given y’all style! Have given y’all seasoning in your damn chicken!
“And for too long, we’re not here. You say you honour us. You say you uplift us. Then where the f**k are we?”
The city heard her calls, and the following day thousands of allies assembled outside the historic spot to take a stand for the Black transgender community.
Thousands out in front of Stonewall Inn, the birthplace of the modern LGBTQ+ movement, demanding justice for Tony McDade and Nina Pop. Black lives matter. Black queer lives matter. Black trans lives matter.
— Left Voice (@left_voice) June 2, 2020
Alongside the now-familiar chorus of “No justice, no peace,” protestors led the call-and-response chant: “Say his name — Tony McDade. Say her name — Nina Pop.”
This was followed by the call: “When Black folks are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back! When trans lives are under attack what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”
The demonstration was one of six organised in New York City that day, but it was perhaps the most poignant given that the Stonewall Inn was the site of protests against police violence in 1969 led by Black trans women and lesbians.
The Stonewall Uprising began when a police raid on the bar turned sour after officers accosted bar-goers, and the ensuing protests are commonly credited as the birth of the modern LGBT+ rights movement.