By Taryn Husband
On January 21, 2017, thousands of women all over the world came out to stand up for their rights and march in solidarity with the Women’s March on Washington. For many of those women, it was their first time attending such an event.
For my final blog post, I interviewed a friend about her experience at the Cape Town Women’s March.
Why did you decide to go to the Women’s March?
I was appalled and distraught to follow the events and surge of conservative nationalism and fascism leading up to and following Trump’s election in the US. Not only does what happens in the US cause waves all over the world, but I have US friends who are directly affected and threatened by this, and I want to do what I can to show solidarity and support.
What was the march like?
It was a very positive experience. Being a sister march here in South Africa, there was probably less grim urgency to it than in the US, but the march brought out many US expats and tourists here, and it was good to have conversations with them. Overall, the mood seemed positive and hopeful, resolved and determined.
Had you been to a protest before?
No. This was the first organised march or protest action that I’ve participated in.
What was it like being a trans woman at the Cape Town women’s march?
It was no problem. I was accepted by the people who I disclosed my trans status to, and I encountered a number of individuals displaying queer- and trans-positive imagery and symbols, which made me feel safe.
Do you think it would have been different at a march in a different city or country?
It may have been… Cape Town is more accepting and inclusive of LGBTI people than most, probably. I would hope that other Women’s March events would be as accepting and inclusive, though!
Did you feel welcome?
Yes, I felt very welcome. I arrived quite early, chatted with the organisers, and ended up helping out with small tasks, and volunteered as a marshall.
How did it feel to have your picture in the New York Times?
I was very surprised! It made me feel proud to represent my community, and made me even more determined to keep contributing my time and effort to the movement where I can.
Are you planning to attend any other marches in the future?
Yes! I want to attend the upcoming March for Science, and I’ve remained in contact with the people involved in the march and follow-up actions on Facebook and online.
Taryn Husband was working as an Intern in sexual and gender-based violence and criminal justice with Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit, University of Cape Town in South Africa.