Today is Transgender Day of Visibility and as a school committed to honoring the integrity and worth of each individual within a diverse and ever-growing community, we are speaking up, with unified voices from throughout our faculty/staff community, to ask you to join us in showing up through some of the action items listed below. This year has seen both unprecedented progress for the trans community AND unprecedented attacks on—and attempts to undermine—the safety, visibility, and humanity of transgender people. As a school, we are particularly concerned for transgender youth, whose rights have been routinely targeted and who often don’t have a vote or a voice to advocate for themselves.
Join us for Transgender Day of Visibility:
Learn about Current State and Federal Legislation Information.
New bills targeting trans youth have been proposed, specifically in Arkansas and Alabama. Our GDS alum Schuyler Bailer ’14 has been working on this; visit http://pinkmantaray.com/transbills.
Lower School teacher Arden Kinnamont said, “Arkansas’s HB 1570 bans healthcare for trans youth [thanks to 5th grade teacher Bryan Williams for the article] and insurance coverage for all trans people. SB 354 bans trans women and girls who are trans from sports and polices all athletes bodies in womens' sports. I just recently read that [Arkansas] passed the bill denying gender affirming care to transgender youth. Alabama’s HB1/SB10 makes it a felony to provide gender-affirming care for trans youth and HB 391 bans trans women and girls from sports and polices all athletes' bodies in womens' sports.
“These laws create great harm to the transgender community. While I do not live in these states, and they would not affect me directly [because of age and gender], any attack to a transgender person is an attack against me. Gender-affirming healthcare specifically is crucial to the transgender community and is something that I do not believe I would be where I am today without.”
Show up and advocate.
Use your voice, your platform, and your network to communicate your support for transgender rights, the trans community, and transgender people, particularly trans youth and Black trans women, who are most often and egregiously targeted. Express your abhorrence of bigotry by speaking up and writing in opposition of trans-oppressive legislation and policies. Spread awareness and be vocal on social media and in your workplace. Support local DC-area organizations that support trans community members and families, including Casa Ruby, DC Area Transmasculine Society (DCATS), SMYAL, or Safe Space NOVA.
Be visible in your support, like the faculty and staff members and students featured in this post. High School performing arts chair Laura Rosberg, with permission, said, “I'm proud of my advisee, Elliot [Oppenheim ’21]," who identifies as trans and is co-head of the High School Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA). Third grade teacher and High School running coach Anthony Belber said, “As thrilled as I am to know a handful of my former students and High School runners have transitioned after graduation, our work at GDS is not finished when it comes to creating an environment in which trans students feel safe and comfortable expressing themselves fully and being free to be who they are inside."
Second grade teacher Azureé Harrison suggests attending the April 1 event, "Intersectionality and Abolitionist Teaching: Centering Queer Voices," hosted by the Abolitionist Teaching Network. Ki Gross of Woke Kindergarten, who presented for the Lower School during our January In-Service day, is on the panel. “The event is particular to folks in the education field, but still worth sharing widely in my opinion as I know some GDS parents are educators at other schools,” she said. Register here.
This HRC event, Fierce, Fabulous and Fighting for Our Lives, begins at 6:00 PM tonight (March 31) and will feature Schuyler.
Expand your understanding and advocacy capacity by following transgender advocates on social media and with resources recommended below by Senior Staff Accountant Anne Ellyse Kania, HS world languages department chair Maribel Prieto, and 2nd grade teacher Laura Nakatani. We have included additional resources below.
Anne Ellyse advocates in the reproductive justice space and shared this Everyday Feminism article, which discusses how to ensure reproductive rights don’t leave out trans and gender nonconforming individuals. “Trans voices in this space are so deeply important, and they often are hurtfully excluded,” she said. This article discusses trans and trans BIPOC erasure in the media.
Maribel recommends Leng Montgomery: Why we need to listen to trans people tell their own stories, More than visibility: Geena Rocero's TED Talk, two years later, and HRC Honors International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Laura recommends Your Gender Stories from Gender Spectrum for guidance and resources.
More resources are available from GLSEN and HRC’s Welcoming Schools, from which Lower School teachers have received training. Dwayne Wade discusses his journey to acceptance of his trans child (warning: some vulgar language included in this clip). Also, we recommend this list of children’s books and the book The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie A. Brill and Rachel Pepper.