People gather in Charlottesville at rally to support LGBTQ community

Updated: Jun. 24, 2020 at 10:43 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - People in Charlottesville are fighting for Black queer and trans lives. They gathered for a rally to get the message out that those lives should be protected just as much as the others.

Protesters shut down a portion of West Main Street as they called attention to Black queer and trans lives, but the protest looked more like a party as they spread the message of equality.

The protest is just one of many around the country fighting for Black Lives Matter, but specifically for the LQBTQ community.

“A lot of times I feel like people say black lives matter, there’s a section of people who don’t include Black queer lives as well. So, it’s important for me to represent not only for myself, but for my community as well,” Norman Dorise, Protester said.

Protesters also shed light on Sage Smith - a trans woman that went missing in Charlottesville in November 2012. In March of 2017, the Charlottesville police department declared her disappearance as a homicide. Smith still has not been found.

“I do believe if Sage Smith happened to be a white trans, white gay, or white lesbian youth, we would have found her by now,” Tamika Braveheart, Protester said.

Braveheart came out to highlight the disparity in the healthcare system.

“As a nurse I also believe that our Black queer, trans, gay and lesbian individuals don’t get the same type of healthcare others receive. They lack access to reproductive health,” Braveheart said.

People feel a huge contributing factor is discrimination within the African American race.

“Within the Black community, there’s a lot of internal homophobia, trans-phobia and things like that that’s not talked about and it needs to be talked about,” Dorise said.

Flyers were passed out with a temporary phone number for non-crisis emotional support during COVID-19 for people of color. People are encouraged to leave a voicemail if they would like a call back. The phone number is 434-218-0400.

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