By Emerson Brown, Print Editor-in-Chief
// According to The Trevor Project, transgender youth are five times more likely than their cisgender peers to attempt suicide, and one in three transgender youth have attempted suicide. The Pew Research Center reported that only 30 percent of the population knows a transgender person, opposed to 87 percent knowing a non-straight person. Transgender Day of Visibility aims to combat these statistics by raising awareness and educating the public.
Acalanes High School’s Queer Student Alliance (QSA) celebrated Transgender Day of Visibility today and had a message for the Acalanes community detailing the importance of the day and how non-transgender people can take action.
Transgender Day of Visibility is a day meant to celebrate transgender and non-binary individuals and their accomplishments, as well as bring awareness to the discrimination they face.
“Transgender Day of Visibility is important because it provides a space where trans and non-binary people can be celebrated. It’s a day where their struggles and progress can be recognized” junior Molly Ransdell said. Ransdell uses she/they pronouns.
In 2020, 44 transgender people were killed, and Transgender Day of Remembrance honors the lives lost. It is important to differentiate between the two days.
“Transgender Day of Remembrance celebrates the lives of those past and shows a tragedy many transgender people, unfortunately, face, whereas Transgender Day of Visibility celebrates transgender people that are living and thriving despite all of the hate they receive. Transgender people deserve to be celebrated, not just mourned,” Acalanes QSA Co-President and junior Autumn Long said. Long uses they/them pronouns.
Currently, several states and cities across the U.S. are attacking the transgender community. Most recently, Arkansas passed a law that forces doctors to decline gender-affirming healthcare to minors, including hormones like estrogen and testosterone, hormone blockers to stop the effects of puberty, and gender reassignment surgeries.
“This is detrimental to transgender youth because they have to deal with dysphoria, an extreme hatred with certain parts of themselves that do not align with their gender identity. Giving a transgender teen access to hormones that match their gender identity can change their entire world for the better,” Long said.
In addition, 25 states have introduced or passed legislation to ban transgender children from participating in school sports.
Some discrimination in Lafayette may be more discreet than hate crimes or physical assault.
“Many people still do not use my pronouns even though they often show up on my Zoom screen. It’s not a huge thing, but it’s kind of uncomfortable, especially when I know that they know better,” Long said.
Although students at Acalanes have more legal protections than youth in other states, students believe that the school does not actively bring awareness to the transgender community.
“Acalanes does not do much to bring awareness to the transgender community… However, Acalanes has been accepting of most of our requests, such as gender-neutral bathrooms and Zoom pronouns, which shows that they are listening,” Long said.
Many students believe that allies are essential to the advancement of transgender rights. Accomplishments like the gender-neutral bathrooms required support from both transgender students and allies alike before school administration implemented them.
“I want allies to know the importance of their support and how much impact their actions can have. We are just like everyone else and need their support to be heard,” Ransdell said.
Transgender Day of Visibility is also a way for transgender people to communicate how others can support them.
“People can educate themselves on transgender issues by simply doing a Google search. Some examples of things to research are what to ask and what not to ask a transgender person, what anti-transgender bills are currently up for debate and how to call in to say you are against them, generally how to be a better transgender ally, transgender history, and more” Long said.