Winnipeg Trans March held to fight discrimination, inspire hope

Hundreds of trans people and allies marched through downtown Winnipeg Saturday, calling for an end to the many barriers, and stigma, transgender people still face.

Third annual march organized to call attention to barrier transgender people still face

The third annual Trans March made its way down Broadway Saturday afternoon. (Sarah Petz/CBC)

Hundreds of trans people and allies marched through downtown Winnipeg Saturday, calling for an end to the many barriers, and stigma, transgender people still face.

Participants in Saturday's Trans March make their way from the Manitoba Legislature down Broadway in Winnipeg. (Sarah Petz/CBC)

"A lot of trans people live at or near the poverty line, can't get a proper job. They're just struggling for their identity and trying to make sure that they can have a life like everybody else, and they meet so many roadblocks," said Shandi Strong, the organizer of the Trans March and Rally.

The march was organized by Shandi Strong (at microphone) and a committee of trans people and allies. (Sarah Petz/CBC)

Strong, a transgender woman, helped organize Winnipeg's first Trans March in 2017, to give these issues — and transgender people themselves — more visibility during the city's annual Pride celebrations.

The flag representing the transgender community consists of 2 light blue strips, 2 pink strips, and 1 white stripe in the centre. (Sarah Petz/CBC)

"For me when I first came to Pride, which is about 25 years ago, you know, I didn't see myself reflected in the crowd," she said.

"I saw drag queens, I saw gay men in Speedos and things like that; I saw a party, and I got some of the politics behind it, but I didn't see myself."

Strong said it's important for transgender people, who face abuse and discrimination regularly, to see that they're not alone. (Sarah Petz/CBC)

This visibility is crucial for transgender people, especially when they're struggling with discrimination on a regular basis, she said.

"They get a lot of crap thrown at them," she said.

Transgender people need to be visible in society so that they can see there are other people out there who are like them, and that they're not alone, Strong said. (Sarah Petz/CBC)

"They need to see the support from the rest of their community, to see people like them, so that when it does happen to them, and sadly it does, they can feel stronger. They can go, 'You know, I'm not alone. There are people like me.'"

"And that's part of Pride."

This very good dog was there with his owner to show support for the transgender community. (Sarah Petz/CBC)

For Veronica Gingles, a trans woman, seeing that kind of support at Saturday's march is "the greatest feeling in the world."

Gingles, 56, says she struggled with her identify for most of her life, and didn't transition until she was older. 

Veronica Gingles, a transgender woman, said she came to Saturday's Trans March to celebrate her identity and show support for people who are still learning to accept themselves. (Sarah Petz/CBC)

"There was nothing like this when I was growing up. I had no mentors, I had no real idea that being trans was even a thing. I thought there was something wrong with me," she said.

The march concluded at The Forks, where the Pride Winnipeg festival is taking place this weekend. (Sarah Petz/CBC)

"And to be able to come out and have support like this from other trans folks from the community is mind-blowing."

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