Actor Indya Moore and transgender rights activist Cecilia Gentili were among hundreds of people arrested during a New York City rally calling for a ceasefire in Gaza this past weekend. The demonstration, organized by the anti-Zionist organization Jewish Voice for Peace, took place at Grand Central Station in Manhattan this past Friday, in a tribute to ACT UP’s takeover of the transit hub in 1991 to protest the Gulf War.
Thousands of protesters filled the station and spilled out into the streets in midtown Manhattan at 6 p.m., according to ABC 7 New York. Many protesters, including Moore and Gentili, wore black shirts printed with white text reading “NOT IN OUR NAME” and “CEASEFIRE NOW.” The same night of the protest, as the IDF intensified its assault, Gaza lost all phone and internet service; American officials told the New York Times they believed Israel was responsible for the total communications blackout, which lasted 34 hours.
Israel has been bombarding Gaza since October 7, the day that the militant group Hamas launched a surprise attack on the country in which over 1,400 were killed and 200 hostages taken, the vast majority of whom have not been returned home.
According to the Associated Press, the Gaza Health Ministry has reported that 8,000 Palestinians have died in the conflict since October 7, most of whom are women and children. Nearly 20,000 have been injured, according to the United Nations. Gaza’s Health Ministry reports that its healthcare system has totally collapsed, leaving many injured Palestinians in critical condition. The need for aid is critical because since October 9, the Gaza Strip has been under total siege, with water, food, and medicine blocked from entering. The Guardian reported today that Israel has let in “only a trickle” of aid since the start of the siege.
During Friday’s rally, the New York Police Department (NYPD) arrested 335 protesters, many of whom received summonses for criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, per the New York Times. In an Instagram post on Saturday, Gentili, an activist and advocate with a long history of advocacy for trans people, sex workers, and people living with HIV, described the arrest as “inconsequential compared to what is currently happening in [Gaza] as we speak.”
Gentilli echoed United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres in referring to Israel’s actions as “collective punishment” of Palestinians. “There will be NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE until there is a CEASEFIRE,” Gentili’s caption read.
In their own post on Sunday, Moore wrote that she and Gentili “stomped, cried, resisted, all the way through to jail.” Acknowledging that the two were “free and safe,” they added, “There was no moment of discomfort or exhaustion that comes near the disheartening and terrifying experiences… of the Gazans.”
The Pose actor ended her post addressing Palestine, writing, “Palestine! We love you!”
“And most importantly please know you have so many people — gay, straight, transsexual, white black, brown, indigenous, Israeli and Jewish people who see what is happening and who are grieving with you & rising standing and fighting for you,” she said.
In a Sunday Instagram post, Moore addressed some of the blowback she has received for voicing explicitly queer and trans support for Palestine. Posting a screenshot of a comment that claimed that she would be “thrown off a building” because “they don’t like gays and trans there,” the actress called it “one of the most wicked, racist and vile things” she had read about Palestinians.
“It’s so heartbreaking, that people cannot feel their own cruelty,” Moore wrote. “There are Queer and trans Gazans too. There are Queer and trans black & indigenous people too.”
The actress added that transphobia exists everywhere, including in America, but maintained that “no one deserves to be oppressed, marginalized or to have [their] rights or land taken away because if I believed it were okay for some people that means I believe it’s okay for some people to believe that about me.”
Moore finished her post with an all-caps declaration: “THE GAYS & THE TRANSSEXUALS DEMAND PALESTINIAN LIBERATION WORLDWIDE!”