Non-violent Violence? Let's hope so.
And so, in the immediate wake of the shooting earlier this week in Nashville, we will soon hear from the Trans side as the “Trans Day of Vengeance” is set for this weekend in Washington D.C. and elsewhere.
With quite a bit of expected negativity, the event is still expected to be held Saturday morning in front of the Supreme Court followed by a protest march. Twitter deleted all posts regarding the event, cluing in on the word “vengeance”. Twitter deleted all posts swiftly using their available technology which did not select just pro-protest Tweets but the Tweets of those against the event as well.
The event is being organized by the Trans Radical Activist Network (TRAN), which is not doing interviews nor releasing much information other than a press release regarding the event. The group acknowledged the tragedy in Nashville but did not elaborate on any statements concerning the shooter or the incident while also stating that the planned weekend event was not to be violent despite its name. On the TRAN website the group explains that the word “vengeance” means fighting back with “vehemence”.
Now ya’ll know me by now, right? It is dictionary time.
Here you go: “vehemence. characterized by rancor or anger; violent
Oh well, so much for no children being left behind. Anyway, here is the reason for concern regarding this weekend’s planned protests. The TRAN website has an interesting quote from Sylvia Rivera and is using it to promote the Trans Day of Vengeance. Rivera was an American gay liberation and transgender rights activist who was also a noted community worker in New York. Rivera, who identified as a drag queen for most of her life and later as a transgender person, participated in demonstrations with the Gay Liberation Front and is famous for her involvement in the Stonewall Riots.
The quote is as follows:
Like the Stonewall Riots the gays and lesbians were experiencing what the trans community is facing now. This cycle of hate needs to end in fact it must. Allies, siblings we need you now more than ever. “I was a radical revolutionist. I still am a revolutionist…I am glad I was in the Stonewall Riot. I remember when someone threw a Molotov cocktail, I thought, “My god, the revolution is here. The revolution is finally here?” -Sylvia Rivera
The Stonewall Riots, also called the Stonewall Uprising, began on June 28, 1969 when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. The raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street, in neighboring streets and in nearby Christopher Park. The Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world.
When the raid occurred, the gay patrons quickly reacted to what they considered constant police harassment. Angry patrons and neighborhood residents hung around outside of the bar rather than disperse, becoming increasingly agitated as the events unfolded and people were aggressively manhandled. At one point, an officer hit a lesbian over the head as he forced her into the police van— she shouted to onlookers to act, inciting the crowd to begin throw pennies, bottles, cobble stones and other objects at the police.
Only moments later, the situation became a full-blown riot that suddenly included hundreds of people. The police, a few prisoners and a Village Voice writer barricaded themselves in the bar, which the mob attempted to set on fire after breaching the barricade repeatedly.
The fire department and a riot squad were eventually able to douse the flames, rescue those inside Stonewall, and disperse the crowd. But the protests, sometimes involving thousands of people, continued in the area for five more days and at times became quite violent.
The event planned for Saturday will include a rally with speakers in front of the Supreme Court, followed by a march, according to the "Trans Day of Vengeance" poster, which also encourages attendees "to cover up and bring a buddy."
For an event that is not to be violent but to be representative of how far the community has come since the Stonewall Riots, the similarities and references to the riots along with the warnings to their own people published on their site might lead one to believe that their expectations are different than what they are saying.
While the organizers of this event may indeed have plans for a peaceful and productive day on Saturday, the concern should be the same as before any planned protest and that is the great unknown; how many will participate that are not of the same mind? From the title of the event to the reference to the Stonewall violence (Molotov cocktails) to the posts I am finding online of TRAN supporters posing with weapons and calling for the death of Christians, this weekend could become one that's remembered for a long time for all the wrong reasons.