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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Athena Hollins (DFL)

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Minnesota House Queer Caucus on Historic “Trans Day of Visibility” Rally

Monday, April 3, 2023

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – On Friday, March 31st, the Minnesota House Queer Caucus joined Outfront Minnesota, Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, House Speaker Melissa Hortman, and advocates to celebrate “Trans Day of Visibility.” On March 31, LGBTQIA2S+ community members observe Transgender Day of Visibility (TDOV) to raise awareness about and celebrate transgender people. It is a day to uplift the lives and contributions of trans people, while also drawing attention to the poverty, discrimination, and violence the trans community faces.   

The Queer Caucus released the following statement:   

“We are grateful to Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan for their dedication and commitment to our trans, gender-expansive, and two-spirit community. We thank them for issuing a proclamation recognizing Trans Day of Visibility Day in Minnesota. We want to thank advocates Mars Kamenski, Luna Hernandez, Andre Reed, and Danh Huynh for their courage in sharing their stories to illuminate the vast beauty of the trans community. Our trans community deserves more than to exist; they deserve to live boldly in their whole truth.  

Friday’s celebration in the Rotunda sent a powerful message to the nation that the Trans community is visible, and they will continue to strive in the face of constant scrutiny and weaponization.   

The Queer Caucus will never engage in debates on whether our trans and gender-expansive communities deserve to live. Our caucus will work to implement instrumental bills to champion and codify the human rights of our LGBTQIA2S+ in our pursuit of queer liberation from archaic heteronormative systems of abuse and oppression.”   

During the TDOV Rally, a historic drag performance was performed by Minneapolis-based performance artist Tomi Saint James (they/she). Drag, an art form rooted in social and political expression pioneered by gay men and transgender women, has built a culture and community of its own on the cutting edge of underground art scenes and queer subcultures.

Representative Leigh Finke, Chair of the Queer Caucus, spoke in support and celebration of drag performances.   

“Drag is an art form that is unique to our community and for so many, it is essential to queer power and visibility. The reason drag is attacked and mischaracterized is because it is ours,” Rep. Finke said. “It is a queer art form, predominately for queers and by queers and for that reason only our enemies vilify and condemn it. Banning and eliminating the presence of drag is another deliberate act for the erasure of trans and gender-expansive people. Drag is a direct result of being fabulously beyond the confines of heteronormative and gender-normative expectations.”  

As political and social movements continue to target trans and gender-expansive communities, as well as the historic and boundary-pushing art form of drag, the Queer Caucus remains committed to creating safety in Minnesota for our trans, gender-expansive communities, our drag performers, and all the beautiful expressions of our queer family.   

Livestream video from the TDOV Rally can be found on the Minnesota House DFL Facebook page.