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A Call to Action for Trans Youth on Transgender Day of Visibility

A Call to Action for Trans Youth on Transgender Day of Visibility

Transgender young people

We must keep fighting for civil rights for all transgender youth in order to provide the justice they deserve.

Today, Trans Youth Equality Foundation and all trans organizations honor International Transgender Day of Visibility. We celebrate the joy and resilience of trans and nonbinary people everywhere. Yet it is harder today to be visible in most places. To youth, allies, parents, teachers, and family members, we ask that you share in the struggle to end discrimination against trans and non binary youth. Help youth feel safe to be more visible in our society.

Trans youth might have more visibility than ever before, yet they are fighting for basic rights. In many schools, only books with characters that represent cisgender youth (those not transgender) are allowed. Censorship is at an all-time high for everyone. Books that have any LGBTQ+ characters are being banned. The fight against political attacks by extremists that legislate hate in many states and at the federal level must continue.

Faced with an epidemic of violence and bullying, trans youth are robbed of school rights and experience increased rates of hopelessness and suicide. To honor the children lost to hopelessness, we must keep fighting for civil rights for all transgender youth in order to provide the justice they deserve. Trans people and their parents know the journey from oppression and hiding their truths to liberation and protections.

Recent hate bills in red states remind us that the battles against hate are not in our past but a constant reminder to everyone of a need to fight bigotry against transgender and nonbinary people. One way to fight this hate is by sharing our stories, celebrating who we are, celebrating the trans community, and being as visible as we can.

Parents and youth tell their stories and report hate not to reinforce a narrative of trans victimhood but as a form of vigilance and resistance. Our communities call on you to stand with us in solidarity, to be visible in your support and words. Please help fight for our rights by coming together, trans and cisgender people alike, and reach out to your local and regional transgender organizations. Ask how you can help, volunteer, donate, and use your social media to share messages of trans justice, hope, and joy.

Teach your children about the beauty of diversity and about supporting trans peers. We need everyone. In this country we have a history of fighting for everyone’s human and civil rights. Please make sure you are doing this for the transgender community. Join the voices of transgender youth and their families throughout our nation and work toward eliminating discrimination against all transgender, gender-nonconforming, and nonbinary people.

Be visible for those who can’t be. On this day of transgender visibility, take a step and renew your commitment to human rights for all. Please stand in solidarity with us.

Parents love their transgender children the same as they love their cisgender children. Parents have the right to make medical decisions, along with their medical team, for cisgender children.

Parents of transgender children must have that same right. A child's medical needs should never be decided by extremist politicians. This is unheard of for cisgender children. Any child you see might be transgender. They have the right to share the same spaces as cisgender children and to be heard and seen and cared for without fear. Securing these rights will take a village, a great big diverse group of allies to stand in solidarity with a willingness to be visible in action and love.

Today, Trans Youth Equality Foundation and other trans organizations also call for trans joy! Trans joy is revolutionary. Some say it’s an audacious call. We call for trans joy for the children we serve and all trans and nonbinary children. We each deserve to celebrate trans joy! Trans youth stories and images bear witness to lived experiences, including magical moments of liberation and joy as well as challenges and threats that we must face and overcome. Both are meant to empower us with resilience that comes from knowing we have faced this before and won, and we are in this together and will win again.

Susan Maasch is the executive director of the Trans Youth Equality Foundation.

Views expressed in The Advocate’s opinion articles are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent the views of The Advocate or our parent company, equalpride.

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Susan Maasch