The pushback against the Trump Administration continued Sunday in a protest against new policy regarding transgender youths and the use of school bathrooms. The issues prompted many to rally on a cold and windy afternoon at Niagara Square.
"I'm appalled but I'm not surprised," said Reverend Ellen Brauza of the Anti-Violence Project.
"We have been seeing more and more discrimination, bigotry, hate speech, hate actions ever since the election. Cause and effect? Well, you tell me."
Brauza called on the protestors to not wait until the election of 2020 to push for change but to start with the next election.
That was a theme shared by many in the crowd Sunday afternoon. The event was sponsored by an array of LGBTQ groups, along with churches and temples.
"When a trans person embraces that true self, there can be no better feeling," said activist Camille Hopkins, who was the first city employee to transition.
"When a trans youth declares: I am who I am, they should be celebrated for telling the truth. As a child of the 1950s, it took me longer to claim my truth due to the cultural landscape of those unenlightened days."
While the federal government has changed its rules in protecting the rights of transgender students, state officials say those rights will be protected in schools throughout New York State.
Some speakers said the bathroom question clouds the issues of the status of transgender young people. Others pointed to the high suicide rate among transgender students.
"This is an attack on our most vulnerable and a significant setback on our hard fought advancement of human rights," said Maeve Higgins.
"As parents and as a nation, we should be teaching our children to be compassionate, to look out for others, to respect individuality."
Elected officials attending Sunday's rally included Congressman Brian Higgins, Assemblyman Sean Ryan and State Senator Tim Kennedy.