Christian Lovehall is the brainchild behind the march, which was created to help generate visibility for Philadelphia’s transgender and gender-nonconforming community.
This year’s march will set off from Love Park at 3 p.m. Oct. 12.
Lovehall was inspired to create the event after attending the funeral of Stacey Blahnik, a transgender woman and the house mother for House of Blahnik who was murdered in 2010.
“I felt that a revolutionary movement needed to be created to voice and express concerns about the many social injustices we are constantly facing as a community,” Lovehall said.
This year will mark Lovehall’s last as sole organizer as he prepares to relocate to New York City after he receives top surgery in November.
While Lovehall has led the event’s planning, he noted a group of about 15 activists helped get the initial event in 2011 off the ground.
Lovehall said the decision for a potential replacement should be left to the community.
“I don’t have a specific person in mind, to be honest, and probably won’t pick anyone. It’s really up to the community to decide,” he said. “The march is the Philly Trans* March, meaning it belongs to Philly’s trans* community.”
Lovehall said he has been grateful to see the diversity of supporters who have participated in the march — and its impact on the cohesiveness of the community and its supporters.
“I love hearing how the march positively affects many of the attendees, old and young,” he said. “After the march, I usually see YouTube videos of folks giving commentary about the march and it makes me happy to hear how inspired people feel during and after the march, and knowing that I played a part in all of that.”
Marchers will head out from Love Park down South Broad Street to Pine, over 13th Street and around City Hall, before returning to Love Park for speakers and live performers.
But, before marchers set off, they can help honor community leaders and allies, who will be presented with the event’s inaugural awards.
“We wanted to recognize folks in Philly’s trans* community as well as allies, who are doing awesome trans* social-justice and advocacy work,” Lovehall said. “I feel that leaders in the trans* community are not often recognized and wanted to bring an element of acknowledgement and appreciation to the stage this year.”
Awards presented include Leader of Hope and Empowerment, Shining Pioneer, Rising Leader, Artist Visibility, Ally Appreciation and Social-Change Achievement.
After the march, participants can enjoy speeches, live music and spoken-word performances.
With the recent murder of transgender woman Diamond Williams and the unsolved murders of Blahnik, Kyra Cordova, Nizah Morris and other trans women of color, Lovehall said the march is an opportunity for the community to speak out together against such crimes.
“The march is a platform where we can come together as a community to voice our feelings against this type of hate violence faced by trans women of color. And this year will be no different,” he said.
“We can all do advocacy work individually,” he continued, “but the march combines all those forces and passions and politically makes a very powerful statement to our city and the world — a statement that inspires real change for real people. I encourage folks to come out to be heard, to be seen and to be proud.”
For more information on the Philly Trans* March, visit www.facebook.com/phillytransmarch.