"Trans rights are human rights."
That was the rallying cry as Kansas City's first trans pride march kicked off late Saturday afternoon at Hamburger Mary's on Broadway.
It was a colorful crowd of more than 100 people, many toting the pink, white and blue transgender flag and signs that read "I'm Here, I'm Queer" and "Black Trans Lives Matter."
"I am impressed and blown away by each and every person who showed up today," said march organizer Faith Matthews.
Matthews, who identifies as transfeminine and nonbinary, wanted to stand up against the Trump adminstration's efforts to roll back trans and LGBTQIA rights, and, they said, bring attention to ongoing deadly attacks against black trans women in the U.S.
"I wish I could give you this elaborate, beautiful reason, but unfortunately there's always everyday reasons to have this march," they said.
Luc Bensimon, 46, is a transgender man and a founding member of the Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project, or K-STEP. He was also named Mr. Black Trans Kansas in 2018 by Black Trans International Pageantry.
"This is for people to understand and know who I am," he said. "This march is also for the kids (who) get beaten up because they're in the wrong bathroom, or people think they are."
Rory Hoffman came Saturday to represent the queer community of Lawrence, Kansas. Hoffman, who identifies as trans masculine and nonbinary, owns a trans nonbinary clothing company in Lawrence called PrettiBoi Trans Apparel.
"Right now, it's about being uplifted," Hoffman said. "It's a revolution."
"This is an intersectional fight. Racism and sexism and other forms of discrimination are part of our fight," Matthews told the crowd Saturday.