Dozens of CPCC students, LGBT activists and other community members took to the main CPCC campus on Friday afternoon to protest the treatment of transgender student Andraya Williams.
Williams says she was recently escorted off campus by CPCC security while attempting to use the women's restroom.
The school initially suspended her, and while it has since lifting that suspension, there has still been no response to Williams' request for a formal apology and policy changes. She says she knows the request was received, having sent and tracked it via certified mail.
Williams read a statement to the press, which read in part:
I'm sure everyone here is aware of the incident that occurred March 18th. Hopefully this is not the end, but instead the beginning of our fight for equality for our trans community ... It's funny how from a young age we are raised to believe that we have a privilege of sorts for being born in America. We are raised to believe that this is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Well, they got one thing right for sure; this is the home of the brave...
In order for this country to be the country it claims to be, we have no choice but to stop bullying minorities. America has bullied many minorities who have fought and won, and now I guess it's our turn as the new minority being picked on to fight and win.
We are discriminated against and segregated more often than not. I can't use my school's public restroom for girls without being harassed and humiliated by ill-educated staff members. This, to me, is sad. I feel unequal, mistreated, inadequate, segregated, and bullied ...
Being ... intimidated and mocked by my own school staff, laughed at and bullied by my own school staff, these things are prime examples of why I still need a public apology, and we still need policy change."
After Williams' statement, the protesters alternately stood and marched on Elizabeth, high winds animating their flags and threatening to steal their signs declaring support for Williams and for transgender student rights.
Their specific demands are: an apology to Williams for the incident; the addition of gender identity and expression to the campus non-discrimination policies; sensitivity training for students, faculty and staff; and a space for campus dialogue.
As the protest wound down, Williams expressed her gratitude for the turnout, saying, "It's an overwhelming feeling to think that I have community members and classmates who support me, because some of the people here I don't know and they aren't a part of the LGBT community, but they do support the movement. So I'm very thankful."
The demonstration was organized by the LGBTQ on campus organization Spectrum, along with the Human Rights Campaign, Time Out Youth and The Freedom Center for Social Justice. The groups are planning another protest next Friday at noon, if their demands have not been met in the interim.
You can view her reading of the statement below, courtesy of QNotes.