At the end of October, the Trump administration released a memo that proposed changing the definition of sex as “determined by genitalia at birth.” This would mean a change in interpretation of Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans sex discrimination, and would essentially erase federal protections for transgender people.
The proposed change goes against scientific and medical evidence from major organizations like the American Medical Association.
Felicia DeRosa, a transgender woman, helped organize Wednesday's "We Won't Be Erased" rally. When she heard about the memo, she says she immediately sprang into action.
“We have to do something, we have to do something right now,” she recalls thinking. “There has to be a protest, there has to be a rally, this kind of thinking has to stop before it starts, before it becomes something.”
She fears the policy change would force the approximately 1.4 million people in the country who identify as transgender back into the closet.
“We’re American citizens and we’re not going to stand for our basic constitutional rights being stripped from us, our basic human rights being stripped from us,” DeRosa says. “That’s just not happening.”
Calix Franklin joined the protestors as they marched from the Ohio Statehouse to Goodale Park.
"The amount of people that are here trying to support all of us is absolutely heartwarming to me," he said, wrapped in the transgender flag like a cape. "I love to see there’s so much support for us."
Columbus boasts one of the country's largest populations of LGBTQ people, and has repeatedly won a perfect score for LGBTQ equality from the Human Rights Campaign. That's despite the fact that Ohio currently has no protections prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations.