Hundreds of LGBTQ+ Mainers and allies rise up in Portland: ‘We will not be erased’

Hundreds braved the cold this past Wednesday evening to convene in Portland’s Monument Square and show that Maine’s transgender, intersex, and non-binary communities will not be defined out of existence by the Trump administration.

The event was part of a nationwide response to the administration’s apparent efforts, apparent efforts to establish a legal definition of gender “on a biological basis,” according to a report on a leaked memo in The New York Times, with thousands of LGBTQ+ activists and allies mobilizing on- and off-line to proclaim “We will not be erased.”

Elliot Caron, 22, from North Monmouth, Maine, who described the act of living every day as a transgender person in America as an “act of courage.” | Cara DeRose

An estimated 3,000 to 8,000 people ages 18 to older than 65 in Maine are transgender, while the nation as a whole is home to almost 1.4 million transgender people. If the administration’s efforts prevail, a person’s gender would be defined strictly as male or female and be determined based on the genitals they were born with. Transgender and intersex individuals would not, advocates say, “exist” under this definition.

This definition also runs counter to the medically understood fact that transgender individuals are not making a personal choice to identify as transgender.

Rather, “transgender”defines an essential aspect of who they are, as Elliot Caron — a 22-year-old trans-masculine University of Southern Maine student from North Monmouth, Maine — shared at the rally.

“I am a transgender individual who doesn’t want my rights taken away,” he said. “It’s scary to think my ability to receive access to care, to change my name, and live my life authentically could be stripped away because of outdated ideals.”

As someone who recently came out as a trans-masculine person, Caron spoke at the event about how he fears the government will force him “back into the closet.”

He now frets over whether he will get the testosterone he needs to transition, or whether he will be able to successfully transition at all, and told the crowd that, as most of them know, the act of living every day as a transgender individual in America is “an act of courage on its own.”

Transgender individuals who need immediate support can call the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860.

(Top and bottom photos from the event Wednesday night, where hundreds gathered in solidarity with the nationwide #WillNotBeErased movement. | Cara DeRose)

About Cara DeRose

Avatar photoCara DeRose is a staff writer for Beacon. A graduate of the University of Southern Maine, she served as writer and copy editor for the USM Free Press and interned at the Portland Press Herald.

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