Some Luna-tics (supporters of Luna’s film “TOTWK”) are attacking the demonstration that was held on April 6th in front of Tribeca Cinemas to protest the film by saying that our “smiles” and “laughter” was “proof” that we “didn’t know what we were protesting about”. Yes, we the protesters were "smiling and laughing". Sorry if we are not the "tortured souls" the media depicts us as. I am full of joy, faith and life. All the people there were full of life! And the quality of our lives and our pursuit of happiness is worth organizing and mobilizing against films like this one. Being with 30 people in one spot who all believed in trans liberation was reason to celebrate! It was very inspirational for all of us to be taking action for what we believe in our hearts is the right thing to do, and it made us feel good.

Personally, it was very unfolding for me to speaking out against transphobia. I felt like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon, leaving the safe shelters of anonymity behind, taking a risk, and marching with my trans brothers and sisters over obstacles such as defamation and dehumanizing stigma. Fear had always told me not to be too public that I’m a member of an oppressed community, because doors would slam in my face, people would throw stones and some people would distance themselves from me. So when my faith and hope overpowered the fear within me, and I decided that I did want to tell my side of the story, publically, it did cause me to smile. It’s like I had waited my whole life to come out of the cage society had marginalized me into. Standing there with that sign “Our humanity is not a joke” made me feel elated! We were not protesting because we are “bitter, scorned, angry women with nothing better to do”. We were protesting because we see a future where trans people are not depicted as the way they are in “TOTWK”. Since we are the local trans community near Tribeca, we felt a responsibility to the rest of the trans people all over the country to express our collective plight. We protested to draw attention to many issues, and to put pressure on Tribeca, and all film festivals, not to show this film. And we also rallied because we want better representations of trans people in all media. We also don’t want our trans youth, and those after them, to feel like we as a community stood by, with closed mouths, and let cis (non-trans) people make a mockery of our lives without protesting. I reject the role society has given transwomen’s image as a "subhuman, punch line, hyper sexualized, nut case, impersonator". I see thousands of others are rejecting that role too by protesting and boycotting this film.

During the vigil portion of the demonstration our tone of course changed, tears spilled and victims of hate crimes were remembered. We all went around in a circle and said names of LGBT people we knew personally whose lives were cut short due to oppression. The tears that came to my eyes were for seven trans women I knew personally from southern California who died at a young age simply for being themselves: WOMEN of trans experience.

We are NOT advocating "censorship"; we are advocating "anti-defamation protections" and exercising our "freedom of speech". The dignity, humanity, safety and proper education about trans women means more to me than some gay man's "right" to exploit an oppressed community for a few harmful laughs and financial profit. The media is very influential in the well being of people's lives; therefore this toxic film has to be called out for what it is, and what it most certainly is not!

Though this protest is a fight against oppression in which we will partake in the entire way home, it is also a celebration that an whole community is coming together to express our desire for change!

Lourdes Hunter, the only transgender board member of the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, and who gave a powerful speech at the rally, says it best, “SMILE IN THE FACE OF OPPRESSION”. Humanity always wins in the end.