'Stand up, fight back,' Protesters take to streets of Castro District in opposition of Trump transgender military ban

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Hot off President Donald Trump's Twitter announcement that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military, a diverse group of people came together to show their opposition in San Francisco's Castro District Tuesday evening.

RELATED: Protesters gather in San Francisco over Trump's transgender military ban

Between signs and rainbow flags flowing in the breeze, people scuffled through the intersection of Castro and Market streets toward speakers and a microphone manned by people from the Resistance.

One young woman took a seat at a bistro table outside the famous Twin Peaks bar, an LGBT mainstay in the Castro District.

Pushing the hair out of her face and adjusting her glasses, Melissa Garcia of San Francisco told ABC7 News she had run from her job at a nearby coffee shop to join the protest.

When asked what she would say if Donald Trump were sitting across from her at this very bistro table she replied, "We are such a diverse country and that instead of alienating people, we should be coming together and working for a better future -- that means accepting people who are different."

The crowd connected near Harvey Milk Plaza. They connected by holding hands. They connected by waving at each other. They connected through their mutual outrage, and love for their community.

Some carried signs with phrases and rhymes on them like "DUMP TRUMP" and "THE PRESIDENT SHALL NOT TROLL ON TWITTER."

Other signs served as works of art with intricate line detailing -- as if the messages and pictures were etched in one of Leonardo Da Vinci's lost sketchbooks.

RELATED: Celebrities, others condemn Trump's transgender military ban

San Francisco resident Max, who carried one of the most creative signs, said his work was inspired by the original Uncle Sam poster, which was used as a way to recruit soldiers for the US military. "Except I don't think he represents the same values," he explained.

When asked what his initial reaction to Trump's tweets was he said, "My blood was boiling and then I was sad for other trans(gender) people who are in the service."

Max said he's been paying attention to the Trump administration -- from Russia collusion allegations to Twitter wars. "He's colluding with an enemy," he continued as he thanked ABC7 News for attending the rally. "Whether it's criminal or not. It's not somebody I want to be my president."

The crowd began to grow around 6:15 p.m. and by 6:30 p.m., San Francisco police arrived at the site of the rally. One officer told ABC7 News the SFPD's plan was to help guide protesters and follow them through their march to ensure their safety throughout the event.

Among those planning to march was San Francisco Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, who happens to be the only gay member of the board. He remembers the assassination of Harvey Milk and the mark the tragedy made on the LGBT community. He feels the Trump administration is breeding the next wave of hatred in America.

"This is how we've always responded to the hate and bigotry we've experienced over the years and the decades," he said. "What we do is come together with love and solidarity."

Sheehey said Trump's decision to ban transgender individuals from the military wasn't made with haste, but with hate. "We've been through this before. I remember when we all laid down in the street in 1989 in protest because no one was responding to HIV/AIDS. We shut down the Castro."

As people of all shapes, sizes, colors, creeds, and gender identities took the microphone at the center of the rally they shared their experiences of being cast aside, beaten, discriminated against, and forgotten.

RELATED: President Trump announces transgender ban in military

Asked what advice they had for young people wanting to get involved in political activism, "Sister Nova" of San Francisco's Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence shared a few words of advice, "Read. Read some information and find out, and come out to one of these things and listen to what people have to say. Read the fake news... read the real news. Come out to the Resistance rally and listen to these people's stories. The individual stories are what really matters."

The heartache in everyone gathered at Harvey Milk Plaza could be felt. There was a sense of longing, a call to action, a sense of power-- all feelings whirling around underneath the San Francisco fog. Many who took the streets to support their values said they were ready to march, fight, and speak out for what they believed in -- online, in the streets, and at the voting booths in 2020.

Watch the video in the player above for our half-hour Facebook Live from the Castro Street protest where you can meet Max, Supervisor Sheehy, "Sister Nova," and a host of other participants.

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