GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) — Dozens of people gathered in downtown Greenville for a rally in honor of International Transgender Day of Visibility. It was one of several demonstrations held across the country.
“A lot of people are really scared right now,” Aria Dannewitz said. “It’s important that we’re out here to show that we exist.”
“I am a trans woman myself,” Evie Bates added. “I’m also a paramedic and healthcare provider. I was not raised in a home that supported me. I was not exposed to material that taught me to be trans. Yet, the fact is I was still trans.”
The rally was held as several states adopt laws that affect the LGBTQ community, including those that ban gender-affirming care for minors.
“There are currently 18 anti-LGBTQ bills advancing in South Carolina,” Dannewitz said. “It’s super important that we get the word out that that care is important. It’s healthcare. Healthcare is a human right.”
“We’re here,” Bates added. “We’re not going anywhere. We continue to exist. Their laws won’t change that.”
Many at Friday’s rally spoke about the challenges they have faced in their lives.
“I constantly have to weigh my own risks for my personal safety just to exist,” Bates said. “No one should be under that much pressure no matter what their identity is, who they love or what they look like.”
Some who attended the demonstration said they have found acceptance and friendship within each other.
“There are a lot of resources in Greenville,” Dannewitz said.
“I never knew a supportive environment until I lived in this area,” Bates added. “I met people who not only identified as me but who loved people like me. That makes all the difference.”