Ahead of a candlelight vigil at Morningside Park Thursday evening before this week’s Albuquerque Pride, marchers for transgender rights rallied in the park. The pro-transgender rights march has been a part of the candlelight vigil for the better part of a decade. Albuquerque Pride itself has been around for 41 years now. Featured: Longtime organizer looks back at four decades of ABQ Pride
“It reminds me that I’m very lucky,” Janice Devereaux, who came out as a transgender woman 15 years ago, said in an interview. “As tough as life can be for trans people at times, I’m still lucky to be here, and that is very important for me to hold on to.”
The candlelight vigil is held every year to honor LGBT victims of hate crimes.
Adrien Lawyer is the executive director and co-founder of the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico (TGRCNM), which describes itself as a “clearinghouse for resources.”
Lawyer and his professional partner started TGRCNM in 2008, but the center didn’t move into a physical building until 2012. Lawyer and the center advocate for transgender people through education and services that range from health screenings to navigating through name changes. TGRCNM pushed to change policies at the Motor Vehicle Division on gender designations on identification cards and driver’s licenses. As part of the education outreach, Lawyer travels around New Mexico to educate the public with his Trans 101 presentation, which he estimates he has shown at least 500 times. Ahead of the Albuquerque Pride Parade taking place on Saturday, New Mexico Political Report spoke with Lawyer about a variety of topics, including attending his first Pride event 20 years ago as a “butch lesbian,” how the event has changed over the years and, yes, Caitlyn Jenner.
One summer nearly 40 years ago, a group of roughly 25 people gathered on Central Avenue to march for gay rights in Albuquerque. It was the summer of 1976, seven years after the Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village that launched Gay Pride marches in cities throughout the United States. That year, Juniper, a local gay rights advocacy group, and Albuquerque’s Metropolitan Community Church put together the city’s first Pride March. That event stayed relatively informal. “There was little notice,” PJ Sedillo, a special education professor at New Mexico Highlands University who led Albuquerque Pride through the 1990s and 2000s, said.