“Not being able to feel comfortable in your own gender or presentation is a pretty difficult place,” she said. “It’s hard to focus on other things when you can’t feel safe.”
Saturday’s HKonJ People’s Assembly Coalition was an opportunity for many local LGBT advocacy groups to demonstrate their support.
“We hope to bring visibility to the queer movement,” said James Miller, executive director of the LGBT Center of Raleigh.
Jaloni Martin, a student at N.C. State University and leader of a campus LGBT group, said the march was a chance to illuminate unseen social issues.
“The biggest issue for the LGBT community is definitely discrimination,” he said. “Some people don’t always understand everything about it.”
North Carolina workplaces highlight LGBT discrimination, said attendee Joey Lopez, who is a faith organizer for More Light Presbyterian Church.
“(Equality would be) the ability to go to work and not worry that you’re going to (be) fired because you go home and you live with someone who is the same gender as you, or you’re partnered or married to someone who is the same gender as you,” he said.
Lopez and his group were among a range of organizations united at the march for seemingly different causes.
“I think that intersectionality between queer rights and human rights, especially with what we’re doing here with poverty — with poverty alleviation, with immigration, with employment rights — are all tied together,” Miller said. “And I think we all need to stand together.”
Societal awareness will drive legal action and create protections for oppressed demographics like the LGBT community, TR Nunley, a Wilmington resident, said.
He said he was afraid to come out in his workplace as transgender and expects others feel the same as well.
“It happened to be that (my workplace was) very accepting ... But I know a lot of my other trans friends in the community, they cannot do the same,” Nunley said. “They cannot make physical changes because they’re too scared to lose their jobs.”