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#WontBeErasedOKC rally set for Nov. 3 at State Capitol


By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Oklahoma City students, individuals, and organizations have joined together to host the #WontBeErasedOKC rally on Saturday, November 3, from 1 – 3 p.m., on the South Plaza at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

The rally is in response to the Trump Administration’s proposed federal guidelines on sex and gender.

Earlier this week, the New York Times revealed a leaked memo from the Trump Administration, which proposes that several government agencies should define sex as “a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.”

Lead organizer for #WontBeErasedOKC, Sawyer Stephenson, contends the Trump administration has no evidence to back its views up

“It is a violent and bigoted attack on transgender, intersex and gender-variant individuals,” said Stephenson. “This community already experiences record rates of violence and discrimination, and to remove what little state protections we have is extremely dangerous and an explicit disregard for human rights.”

The goal of #WontBeErasedOKC is to bring visibility and support to the trans, intersex, and gender-variant community while demonstrating the urgency of their rights to protection from discrimination and violence under federal law.

The American Medical Association and dozens of courts over the last two decades have affirmed the full rights and identities of transgender people.

“When the New York Times released the story concerning the Trump administration’s plans for the federal definition of gender, I felt enraged and scared,” said Stephenson. “To be clear, this is an extremist and dangerous attack on the millions of transgender, intersex, and gender variant Americans.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council released a letter signed by more than 1,500 parents denouncing the dangerous proposal. HRC’s Welcoming Schools Program released a resource for educators who may have questions about what this proposal means for their students, and how to continue to support them.

“Defining gender as something that is immovable and fixed at birth flies in the face of years of research from scientists and legal precedent set by the judicial system,” Stephenson continued. “This move also makes it harder for transgender and intersex individuals to receive protections from discrimination in the workplace, in housing, and in health care.

“As a transgender individual I knew I had to take action, so I began organizing the #WontBeErasedOKC rally.”

According to Stephenson, the purpose of the demonstration is to show state legislators that “there are thousands of people in Oklahoma that will be affected by this heartless move from the Trump administration.”

“We hope to show our representatives that this memo places our lives and basic human rights in danger,” Stephenson added. “Trans and intersex people cannot be legislated out of existence. We will not be silenced, and we will not be erased.”

Participating Organizations: Freedom Oklahoma, PFLAG OKC, PFLAG Norman, The Q Space, #YesLoveOKC, The Diversity Center of Oklahoma, Refuse OKC.

These supporting organizations believe if the Trump administration’s memo goes into effect, it will infringe upon the rights of over 1.4 million Americans.

During the event, organizations will have information to distribute and RefuseOKC will host a family area with kids crafts and sign making supplies.

For information, call Freedom Oklahoma at 405-446-8836 or visit the event Facebook page.

Organized by Sawyer Stephenson, on Saturday, Nov. 3, a #WontBeErasedOKC rally will be held at the State Capitol South Plaza from 1-3 p.m. Photo provided.
Organized by Sawyer Stephenson, on Saturday, Nov. 3, a #WontBeErasedOKC rally will be held at the State Capitol South Plaza from 1-3 p.m. Photo provided.

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