You may have heard that the President is trying to stop transgender students from using the bathrooms they feel most comfortable in. If you're reading this, the Title IX guidance for protecting transgender students has been withdrawn. All of this probably sounds pretty intense, and kinda scary.
First of all, take a deep breath. Know that we're all in this together and that GLSEN is with you. But also know that the fight for equal rights and social justice is ongoing, especially for Queer and Trans People of Color (RIP Keke Collier). People all around the world protest and demand fair treatment from governments, schools, and each other all the time.
Injustice isn't new, but what is new is an administration that's actively picking on trans students. That's just not right. Every student should be able to go to school in peace.
Real talk, I've been wracking my brain all day for the right words to say and resources to share. I reached out to our National Student Council so that they too could weigh in on the following suggestions:
1. Gather your GSA and check in with each other. If folks are fried from talking politics, give space for dance parties or poetry.
2. Make sure to keep using people's correct pronouns and chosen names. Use these GSA resources on trans inclusivity and storytelling through poetry.
3. See if your school is down to post their school values, so every student knows they're supported and affirmed.
4. Take a night off! Watch One Day At A Time on Netflix, and soak in the story of a Latinx family navigating love, feminism, and queerness.
5. Dive into really good music. Right now, I'm taking comfort in Solange's A Seat At The Table.
6. Add some love to GLSEN's Wall of Kindness.
7. Join one of the many demonstrations happening today in support of trans students. There are rallies planned in Boston and NYC. For NYC folks: GLSEN will be at the Stonewall rally today. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know where other rallies are happening! As we learn of more rallies, we're listing them here.
8. Start prepping activities and events for GLSEN’s Day of Silence, the largest non-violent student protest in the nation.
9. Voice your concerns, personal experiences, and demands by joining our #ClaimYourRights campaign! GLSEN and PFLAG will help students file complaints to the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education.
Remember: No matter what the current President does, he can't fire us. Your school has the responsibility to protect you. You have the right to demand protection. Your peers have the right to rise up in solidarity with you. Also, there are allies everywhere, from lawyers ready to fight for your rights to educators rallying in support of trans students. Now is the time to lean on allies for support. GLSEN is with you, too.
We’re all here surviving and thriving together. No administration can take that from us. Ever. Power to students everywhere. And remember, move with gentleness and love for each other. Take deep breaths and know that you're not alone. The fight for equal rights never ends: it evolves.
Gabby Rivera is the Youth Programs Manager at GLSEN.