Exclusive Interview: Why It Was Crucial For Activists to Share Trans Visibility During the World Series

If you were one of the millions who watched Game 5 of the World Series, there was something going on behind the scenes that you didn’t catch. Those who were present at Dodger Stadium on Sunday night were witness to an action that was louder than the fans. By now you might already have seen the internet blowing up with photos of the famous Trans flag that was unfurled during the game with the words “TRANS PEOPLE DESERVE TO LIVE” painted across. The demonstration was an act of visibility by Los Angeles-based TransLatin@ Coalition, a group that advocates for the specific needs of the Trans Latin@ community and plans strategies that improve their quality of life.

Among the individuals who lowered the larger-than-life banner were Bamby Salcedo, President & CEO of TLC, and Maria Roman, TLC Board Chair. Together with the assistance of random strangers at the game, the activists quickly mobilized at the top of the 6th inning to tie the flag around posts and lower it to display their message. In the short three minutes that the flag was visible, their message was loud and clear.

The action comes in response to the Trump administration’s plan to define gender as binary only using the gender stated at birth, which would reverse [erase] the decades of fighting for political and civil rights for the trans community.

Although FOX never showed the flag on television, solidarity with the trans community has been seen through the ripple effect caused by those who were present at the game who also shared the impact the message was sending.

What many people don’t know is that this action at the World Series was a culmination of actions that had taken place all weekend in Los Angeles. Salcedo shared that since Friday, signs were being placed on bridges and freeway overpasses throughout L.A. that read “WE WILL NOT BE ERASED”. Salcedo posted these images on social media.

The Trans flag that waved about Left Field was taken down about three minutes later, but it was visible long enough to share the voices that TransLatin@ Coalition wishes to be heard. Immediately after, Salcedo, Roman, and their group of activists were escorted out of the stadium—but their mission accomplished.

Here’s the video of the moments when this action took place:

Salcedo shared with Instinct in more detail about the action that has gained much attention.

INSTINCT: What inspired TransLatin@ coalition to display the flag during the World Series?

Bamby Salcedo:

Well you know one of the things that really inspired us to do this action really is that people didn’t understand that the image of dropping that banner at the World Series game is not all that it was. We actually had a strategy that we developed so over the weekend where we put different banners from different bridges that are on the freeway–it was leading to that. We did that on Friday and Saturday and on Sunday. It was strategy that we planned and the culmination was the drop of the banner at the World Series game.

When did you know you wanted to do this type of action?

As you know the prior week was when the release of the memo from the Trump administration took place. We organized a rally the day after, the following Monday, where we were going to rally at city hall here in Los Angeles. And this was like continuation we knew the Dodgers were coming back to Los Angeles and we wanted to obviously be visible because the World Series is a wide viewed event and we wanted to make sure to bring visibility to our community. We wanted to occupy space.

What was it like to show those in the stadium your message and now the world?

Originally it was very scary because you don’t know how people are going to react you don’t know what’s going to happen especially when you’re a visibly trans person who is entering a crowded heteronormative space. So that in itself is scary, but also you don’t know how people are going to react. You don’t know if you’re going to be arrested obviously you are infiltrating a space and you are basically being radical for what you believe in. It was all of that a mix of excitement fear emotion and my adrenaline was pumping and rushing leading to that. For me once I’m in the zone, I’m in the zone. I’m just here to do business and that happen every time there is an action.

What was the response from those around you when you were setting it up?

Well people didn’t really know what we were doing. We actually asked when we tied it. We didn’t have those seats so we asked people if they could help us tie it and they were like “oh yeah what is this?” So we told them it was a marriage proposal and so people were excited and they helped us tie it. It was a great reaction but you know if you really told them it was something related to trans people then people would get confused for sure they would have been probably they wouldn’t have wanted to do it.

As you were being escorted out of the stadium did security say anything to you?

Not directly to me because when they were coming I was like “let’s get out”–actually it was Maria because she was with me–by then the banner was up for 2-3 minutes and so I just left the scene and they just walked behind me but they didn’t say anything to me.

What is the message that needs to be given to the world about Trans lives?

The message that need to be given about trans lives is very simple. We need to humanize Trans lives. We have been formed in our society to be less than who we are, as individuals, as a community. The systems we have in place have placed us to be individuals who are not credible. But the fact of the matter is that we are credible we have existed even before colonization and we will continue to exist. We need to continue to fight the systems that continue to oppress us. We need to be radical and unapologetic and determined to change the lives of our people.

How can others help in this mission?

I think others can help by not just spreading the message, but also by being intentional and the support they provide to trans people and they could support simple things, more tangible things, it could be something like if you see something or hear someone attacking someone who is a person of Trans experience and trying to diminish our existence then say something and stand up and defend the people–even if it’s a negative word or something they would say about our community that creates violence and could ultimately lead to murder. Something as simple as that anyone could do. And of course it’s important to support Trans leadership, there are more and more Trans emerging leaders and organizations and work to support the work Trans people are doing and have been doing for so many years. It’s just we haven’t been recognized for who we are and the power that we have. So we need to acknowledge that support and what has been done. And really be intentional on the work that needs to be done and how people can support. So if someone says they are going to do something they should actually do it. Support comes with action. It not just to say I’m a supporter, but what does that really mean? We actually make those things tangible. We are tired of lip service. We want tangible results.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

The last thing that I would say is really a message for our Trans siblings and to really remind them that we do have a right to exist, that we deserve to have dignified positions within our society, that we claim our space, and we recognize who we are as individuals and as a community. We are going to create the changes that need to happen through our visibility. Be unapologetic, be unafraid, and be authentic through your process.

For ways on how you can support TransLatin@ Coalition visit www.translatinacoalition.org 

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