More than 60 people showed up Wednesday night when a nonprofit support group for trans people hosted a dance party to protest a discussion on
“transgenderism” at a Rockville restaurant, according to the protest’s organizers.
United Against Racism in Education, a group that opposes the teaching of critical race theory (a concept that states U.S. social institutions – like the criminal justice system and education system – have racist components) in Montgomery County public schools, presented “True Stories About Transgenderism.”
The event featured three speakers who were expected to discuss how “transgenderism,” a term used by UARE, can happen to “your loved ones,” according to a flyer for the event.
Trans Maryland tweeted Wednesday evening about the protest event.
In partnership with Kristin Mink, a candidate for Montgomery County Council District 5, Trans Maryland, a nonprofit dedicated to the state’s trans community, held a “Queer Dance Party” as the discussion was taking place inside.
Mink tweeted: “JUST NOW: An anti-trans fundraiser peddling hate and misinformation was held at a MoCo restaurant tonight.
So we held a Queer Dance Party out front to stand in love and joy— and fundraise for @TransMaryland!”
Dee Reuben, a local UARE leader, could not be reached for comment about the event.
Since the UARE event charged $20 per attendee, according to its flyer, Trans Maryland also collected donations for the organization, said Blake Mihm, a volunteer with Trans Maryland who uses they/them and he/him pronouns.
“It’s so wonderful just to see the support of everybody because it can be really discouraging as a queer person just to know that there are people out there who wish that I didn’t exist,” Mihm said. “They hate the person I am, and they hate my community and that is really depressing and scary and can feel very awful. But to see so many community members come out and so many people who have money to spare donate to help make our community better and to help keep our community safe is just really heartwarming.”
Mihm said they weren’t sure what participants should expect when they were arrived.
“I was definitely a little nervous because there were already cops there,” Mihm said. “We didn’t know if we were going to get there and immediately have trouble or be asked to leave or anything but none of that happened.”
When the dance party protest started around 6 p.m. there were only 10 people in attendance, but it picked up around 6:30 p.m., Mihm said. The protest concluded without any issues.
“We didn’t have any problems. We had to spread out because we had so many people that if we had all stayed in the parking lot, we would have been blocking cars coming through,” Mihm said.
The dance party featured music, flags in support of trans people and the blowing of bubbles.
“We had families there, there were a lot of trans and queer people, but also a lot of allies, a lot of cisgendered, heterosexual parents and partners and just friends of trans and queer people,” Mihm said. “It was just an amazing mix of community members and supportive people who just don’t want to see this kind of hate anywhere, but especially around where we live.”
Mihm said people going into the restaurant did not interact with the protesters. Someone leaving the restaurant did hand out UARE flyers to some of the protesters following the dance party, Mihm said.