Jayla Wilkerson of Transgender Pride of Dallas

Following clarification regarding the cost for security and permits for the planned Pride is a Protest gathering on City Hall Plaza on Sunday, June 2, organizers with Transgender Pride of Dallas are moving the gathering to the public sidewalk in front of City Hall, Jayla Wilkerson has announced.

According to a post on the Pride is a Protest Facebook page this morning, marchers will meet on the sidewalk outside City Hall on Young Street at 11:30 a.m. Participants will rally for 30 minutes and begin marching to Fair Park at “noon sharp.”

The march will take Young Street, which becomes Canton Street, through Deep Ellum to Exposition Avenue, then turn right (south) on Exposition and take it all the way to the gates of Fair Park at DART Fair Park Station. The march route is just under 2 miles long, and Wilkerson encourages everyone to “wear comfy shoes.” She expects the march to take about 45 minutes.

Wilkerson, Transgender Pride of Dallas founder, had planned the rally for noon Sunday at City Hall, to give participants time to then march from City Hall to Fair Park in time for the 36th annual Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade, which begins at 2 p.m. Wilkerson said the event had to be moved to the public sidewalk in front of City Hall because while she had originally thought TPD would have to pay only $75 for a special event permit, she has since learned they would have to pay for off-duty police officers to provide security.

Wilkerson wrote in an email to the city’s Special Events office, “Based on my calculations using the numbers you provided, my cost for security would be $800, in addition to the cost of a half-million-dollar insurance policy, in addition to the $75 I already paid for my permit application fee, and in addition to other costs not discussed here such as the additional security specifically for protection of statues, etc. — for the privilege of a marginalized community using an outdoor, publicly accessible space (a traditional public forum) to exercise our rights, which are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, for 30 minutes on a Sunday morning.”

Wilkerson said that not only does TPD not have money to pay such high fees, if the organization did have that much money available it would be unethical to spend it on such fees rather than on food, clothing and shelter for transgender people in need.

In her email to the Special Events office, Wilkerson that the march will still take place: “It will be held on the public sidewalks near City Hall and/or the public library across Young Street therefrom. I cannot accurately predict the number of attendees (likely between 100 and 500), but we will do our very best not to impede pedestrian or other traffic and not to endanger the lives and safety of ourselves and others — both of which goals would be far more manageable and feasible on City Hall Plaza, from which the City of Dallas, through its costly permit process without the option of waivers for those who cannot afford to pay such fees, has financially forbidden my event to take place.”

Wilkerson has said she organized the event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and to remind people that Pride celebrations everywhere have their roots in “protests against police brutality and other human rights violations against the LGBT communities. … Visibility is essential to our lives. Silence truly is death for many in our family. ”

Wilkerson continues:
“Meanwhile, our family — THE TRANSGENDER FAMILY — still suffers. We need pride. We need visibility. We need voices. As long as trans people are tortured, assaulted, and mistreated at the Dallas County jail; as long as Dallas’s homeless shelters exclude trans people; as long as trans people are excluded from drug treatment programs and pre-trial diversion programs in Dallas; as long as employers in Dallas (including Dallas County as an employer who does so) are free to exclude transgender healthcare from their insurance coverage; as long as trans people face barriers in Dallas to equal employment opportunities and housing and education; as long as we lack FULL EQUALITY AND PROTECTIONS UNDER THE LAWS, Transgender Pride of Dallas will MARCH! 

— Tammye Nash