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Hundreds Celebrate Transgender Day of Visibility at State Capitol

On March 31, HHHRC hosted a sign waving and rally at the state capitol in honor of Transgender Day of Visibility, a global awareness day that is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide.

The event was attended by over 300 people and was covered by Hawaiʻi News Now, KITV, and Hawaiʻi Public Radio.

“We are delighted by the show of support from so many members of the community, including city and state policymakers,” said Kuaʻana Project Manager Maddie Sesepasara. The project provides support and linkage to services for Oʻahu’s trans community.

Earlier in the week, Governor Josh Green, who attended the event, declared March 31 “Transgender Day of Visibility” in Hawaiʻi via a proclamation. It noted, in part, that “the dignity and worth of trans people, including youth, have been the subject of harmful and dehumanizing rhetoric and policy proposals that would undermine and even negate recent progress in civil rights and access to needed care services.” The proclamation also recognized the “important spiritual and cultural roles” of trans people in pre-contact Hawaiʻi and other Pacific Islands, “with māhū in Hawaiʻi often serving as teachers of hula and mele.”

Lt. Gov. Sylvia Luke and several legislators, including Reps. Sonny Ganaden, Jackson Sayama, Terez Amato, Natalia Hussey-Burdick, Trish La Chica, Kanani Souza, and others, participated in sign waving. Most trustees with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs were also present, including musician Keoni Souza and former state Sen. Brickwood Galuteria, who once worked for Life Foundation. Honolulu Council members Matt Weyer and Radiant Cordero also attended.

After the sign waving participants gathered for a rally that began with an oli by Kumu Hinamoana Wong-Kalu, who also delivered an inspiring message. Others who spoke included Gov. Green, Equality Caucus Co-Chairs Sen. Chris Lee and Rep. Adrian Tam, Rep. Darius Kila, Honolulu Managing Director Mike Formby, Honolulu Council Member Tyler Dos Santos Tam, and Sen. Kurt Fevella.

The Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association was represented by Hilo Chapter member and LGBTQ+ advocate Daphna Ehrenhalt.

The most enthusiastic statements came from several gender non-conforming youth who were forthright about creating a future where trans people are not subject to legal discrimination and stigma. Sesepasara concluded the program with a message of gratitude and hope.

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