Pride rally for trans rights takes place at the Institute

A speaker relays their experience being discriminated against as a trans woman. Transgender individuals are more likely to be denied housing and experience violence in the U. // Photo courtesy of Jessamyn M. Lockett Student Publications

On June 17, 2023, Tech Green became host to a rally for trans rights, organized by the Atlanta Pride Committee and Tech’s own Pride Alliance.

This collaboration comes at a pivotal time for the LGBTQ+ community, specifically for trans and non-binary youth.

In the midst of Pride Month, a time of celebration for exploring identity and advocacy for inclusivity, a host of trans policies are being debated and legislated across the country.

Tyler Wallace, the Vice President of Operations for Pride Alliance, explains the decision behind hosting this rally.

“The decision to focus the rally on trans rights came from Atlanta Pride but is an idea that Pride Alliance immediately co-signed as soon as we were made aware of it. Now more than ever, our trans siblings are under attack both in society and in the government,” Wallace said.

As of this June, 2023 has seen more anti-LGBTQ+ bills set in motion within state legislatures than in the previous five years.

Across the country, a record number of 520 bills concerning LGBTQ+ rights have been introduced, with 220 of those bills (another record) specifically targeting trans and non-binary rights.

These laws and bans come at a pivotal time for Republican lawmakers and elected representatives vying for upcoming elections.

In Georgia, Senate Bill 140, which bans certain gender affirming care for minors, was signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp this March and went into effect July 1, 2023. SB140 bans licensed medical professionals from providing any hormone therapy or surgery related to gender transition for patients under 18.

According to Wallace, the erasure and dismissal of trans rights goes far beyond just the legal level.

“Trans people are being killed at alarming rates every year, yet the news is not covering this. Laws are being passed that limit the rights of trans youth to access gender-affirming care, despite the statistically high suicide rates of trans children,” Wallace said.

He continued to speak on trans athletes’ eligibility in sports.

“Trans athletes’ eligibility to compete in sports that align with their gender is being questioned, even being blamed for some cisgender people’s losses … All of these things and more have pulled the curtain behind the deep-seated hatred held by many that has existed for quite some time now,” Wallace said.

These political and social debates have consequences on the larger trans community, especially amongst younger people.

The Trevor Project, a LGBTQ+ focused suicide prevention and crisis prevention organization, found that 86% of trans and non-binary youth have reported negative effects on their mental health and stability related to controversies surrounding trans rights.

Alix Johnson, a member of the on-campus support group T+ and a speaker at the recent rally, adds, “it’s really devastating to the community. They [Republican lawmakers] have also gone to things such as education, like requiring that schools inform their parents even though a lot of time trans people, especially those liv- ing in the South and those with religious families, exist in situations where informing parents would lead to them being ostracized by their family, cut off financially or even be kicked out of their house illegally.”

Johnson was invited to speak by another organization, Trans Housing Atlanta, a local support group that provides safe housing for trans individuals. Her journey in advocacy and activism motivated her participation in the rally saying, “growing older, seeing other people go through the same issues that I was going through … led me to being more active on campus and taking a leadership role within the trans community on campus.”

Johnson concluded by explaining how this passion has driven her to take her activism public.

“We would really like to see Georgia Tech step up in vocally defending trans and non-binary and gender nonconforming people before the University System of Georgia and before the state legislature and arguing on behalf of us,” Johnson said.

According to Wallace, allyship is a lifelong process.

“Being an ally needs to be an ongoing, intentional effort of educating yourself on LGBTQIA+ issues, calling out hateful and bigoted actions when you see them, respecting how discrete or open someone wishes to be with their sexual orientation or gender, and affirming everyone in their identity,” Wallace said.

“All in all, being respectful and supportive to all LGBTQIA+ people through doing these actions is a surefire way to start/continue your journey as an ally,” Wallace continued. T+ is a closed group for transgender, gender non-con- forming and gender-questioning students at Tech. Learn more at

Pride Alliance is the undergraduate LGBTQ+ student organization at Tech.

They hold biweekly general body meetings with different topics and host various events throughout the school year to provide support and resources, including the long-standing tradition of celebrating a “Com- ing Out Week” (affectionately called COW Week).

Additional information can be found regarding the Pride Alliance can be found on Instagram at @gtpridealliance.