'We Are All Opposing the Same Man': Thousands Protest Trump at Stonewall Inn
"I feel like all of our rights are at stake. Not just mine—everybody's."
All photos by Linda Yang
After President Trump signed the executive order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, New Yorkers flooded to JFK in protest. The massive show of resistance to the ban was quickly followed by continued peaceful protests around the country, as well as locally in Battery Park, Tompkins Square Park, and Borough Hall.
On Saturday, thousands rallied outside of the historic Stonewall Inn in solidarity with immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees and all those impacted by the anti-Muslim restrictions, as well as all of those impacted by other threats from the Trump administration. In the sunny West Village, speakers urged the crowd to turn to action, to call their representatives, and to continue flooding the streets in protest.
Broadly spoke to the protestors at Stonewall, finding many first-time protesters as well as veteran activists, who found themselves back on the same streets where they fought for their rights decades ago.
What are you here for?
I live downtown and I was in the Women's March in New York City while my daughter was in DC. I support the LGBT community, which is the sponsor of this protest, but I feel like all of our rights are at stake. Not just mine—everybody's. The immigrant ban is un-American and every right that defines being American is being taken away.
Have you protested before?
That's so funny that you ask that. I was telling the cab driver on the way here, I said I can't believe that I'm doing this again. I did it in college in the 60s and 70s. I'm here again. I can't believe that we still have to. We still have to come out when our rights are threatened.
What were you protesting in the 60s?
My fellow students were being drafted into Vietnam, into an illegal war. When the Constitution is threatened, as citizens, we have to be there.
Do you see young people now coming out for the first time?
I am so thrilled that, without any push from me, my daughter, who is 32 years old, was already on her way to Washington [to protest] before I even knew I was going to go in New York. That gives me great hope in young people and I'm very impressed.
Leila and Kim
Why are you here?
Leila: I'm here because I'm terrified of what the Trump administration is trying to push forward to harm the LGBT community. I have to be here to resist those unequal and prejudiced policies. It's such a shame that their stance is so far against equality and it's just, it's just awful.
Kim: I'm here in support of the LGBT community. The laws and the bills being drafted earlier this week were in order to deny rights to LGBT people. It's extremely upsetting. We're here.
Has Trump unified people?
Kim: It's unifying for anyone who does care about justice. For people who are following the news and are doing their research. Look at New York, we care so much about activism and we have enough people who are understanding what's happening. But that's not just New York—people all around the country are seeing what is happening: the Constitution is being breached.
Rogue and Sunny
What are you here for?
Rogue: We need to be here to represent.
Sunny: I'm here for my friends and family that can't be here. They're waiting to see people post about being at the rally on social media. Because they're not happy about their rights being stripped away.
Is social media helping the movement?
Sunny: Yes and no. What we see on the news, they don't show this. They'll show the violent parts but they won't show us standing here, coming together in peace. But it does spread information and let's people know that others feel the same way that they do.
Have you been to anything before this?
Rogue: I always go to Pride weekend. This is the first resistance rally that I have been to, and it's very important to me that we are here.
Sunny: I try to go to every Pride and always try to bring someone new so they can see it. Last summer, I had 10 of my friends, they got to be themselves and not worry about anyone judging them. Last June was the last Pride. That was less than a year ago and we had no idea that we would have to be [protesting at Stonewall] for our rights. I thought we would be okay for a few more years. Hopefully us being here will help somebody, even just one person who sees our message.
Tony and Richard
Why are you here?
Tony: This is my first protest but everything that has happened so far has brought me out here.
Richard: The gay issues are one thing, but everything that has gone down is appalling: the immigrants, how [Trump] is treating foreign countries, breaking up agreements that we have tried to build our policy on... The fact that he is going to be risking war, he is taking apart regulations on the environment, and the EPA is at risk. There is no area in life that is not at risk.
Tony: My father spent three months in a Nazi prisoner of war camp in World War II in order to fight for our liberties and freedoms and never see this country backpedal. We are backpedaling. I am ashamed.
Richard: My mother died last spring. She was an ardent Hillary supporter. I'm glad that she didn't have to see this.