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'You cannot erase us out of existence': Transgender Minnesotans rally in Twin Cities

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Transgender Minnesotans and their allies
Transgender Minnesotans and their allies lined up along streets in the Twin Cities on Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018 in a show of visibility. The "WeWontBeErasedMN" event stretched for 40 blocks along Lake Street in Minneapolis and Marshall Avenue in St. Paul.
Screenshot from video courtesy of KARE-TV

Transgender Minnesotans and their allies lined up along streets in the Twin Cities on Sunday in a show of visibility.

Organizers said it was in response to recent reports that the federal government is moving to eliminate or limit legal protections for transgender people.

Sunday's "WeWontBeErasedMN" event stretched for 40 blocks along Lake Street in Minneapolis and Marshall Avenue in St. Paul, with participants holding signs and standing or sitting shoulder-to-shoulder.

Andrew P. Weston, one of the organizers of the event, said one goal was to show that transgender people transcend any government definition of gender.

"You cannot erase us out of existence. You cannot intimidate us out of existence. I am going to be a trans person, no matter what happens," Weston said. "Even if there is no governmental word for my identity, I am still going to hold my identity. And we just wanted to let people know, and garner support for transgender people. ... and let people know that we are here, we are seen. We will not be erased and we cannot be erased."

Weston said the number of people who took part far exceeded organizers' expectations.

"It was an incredible turnout — we are so moved by all these people who are trans and came out, and our allies who came out with us," Weston said.

In the wake of the rally, Weston said the focus turns to the Nov. 6 election, and electing candidates "who will advocate for trans people, intersex people and gender-expansive people... who will make sure that laws are created to protect trans people."