Hundreds attend Transgender Equality Rally

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Hundreds stood in solidarity to support the Transgender community.

They feel like they're being treated as second-class citizens especially after President Trump's administration withdrew protections for students to use the bathroom of their preferred gender.

"When I was a freshman, I found the courage to come out to my family and friends," said Emerson Kirkpatrick.

It didn't get any easier for Kirkpatrick in high school.

"I definitely appear as male, so if I was going into the woman's bathroom, I'd automatically be told to leave," said Kirkpatrick. "Eventually I decided to start walking over a mile each school day to walk to Walgreens to go to the bathroom in peace."

It led to dropping out of high school and winding up in the hospital.

"Two weeks after my 17th birthday, I was admitted into St. Francis hospital for suicidal thoughts," said Kirkpatrick.

This story was similar to others in the crowd that filled Overton Park Tuesday.

It's why they and hundreds more had gathered to demand equality for Transgender people.

"We are not roadkill. We are humans, and we want to be treated like human beings," said speaker Noelle Newsome.

OUTMemphis hosted the rally. Religious, LGBT and civil rights groups also showed up.

"We are ready to resist, and we are not afraid to stand for what is right," said one speaker as the crowd erupted in applause.

Together they called for a better understanding, addressed safety concerns and vowed to fight and protest any legislation that hurts the Transgender community.

"It's so much more than a bathroom, it's the fact you can't accept who we are," said Kirkpatrick.

The Trump administration said it withdrew bathroom protection for Transgender students, because they believe its a state issue.

The Transgender community here plans on holding more rallies.

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