Written by Marketing Assistant Nicole Bouvier
Today, March 31st, is International Transgender Day of Visibility. Founded by U.S. transgender activist, Rachel Crandall, this day is “dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of transgender and gender nonconforming people while raising awareness of the work that still needs to be done to achieve trans justice.”
Want to take part in Transgender Day of Visibility? There are lots of different ways including taking some time to learn more about the Day of Visibility itself, trans people, and the issues that they face. Here is a link to one website that has some great resources. You can also spread the word about the day on social media using #TransgenderDayOfVisibility.
There is a lot of work that still needs to be done if we are going to achieve trans justice. LGBTQ+ rights, especially trans rights, are constantly being threatened. According to a recent article by NBC News as of March 20, 2022, in the United States, 238 bills have been proposed this year that would limit the rights of LGBTQ Americans and about half of them target transgender people specifically.
One example of a bill that is limiting LGBTQ rights is Florida’s notorious Bill HB1577.
On Monday, March 28, 2022, Florida Governor Ron Desantis signed a new bill into law. This new bill (HB1557) is called “Parental Rights in Education,” but critics have named it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. One of the main components of the bill is that it bans instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation from those in kindergarten through third grade.
So, you may be thinking why is this bill so harmful? Well, as the Trevor Project states in their press release on this topic, the bill “effectively eras[es] LGBTQ identity, history, and culture- as well as LGBTQ students themselves. The bill also has provisions that appear to undermine LGBTQ support in schools and include vague parental notification requirements, which could effectively require teachers to ‘out’ LGBTQ students to their legal guardians without their consent, regardless of whether they are supportive.”
Not including LGBTQ people, identities, and history in the curriculum is a form of erasure and this erasure can have serious impacts on LGBTQ youth. For example, in a 2021 survey that looked at LGBTQ youth mental health, the Trevor Project found that 42% of LGBTQ youth had seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. However, they also found that LGBTQ youth who had access to spaces that affirmed their sexual orientation and gender identity reported lower rates of attempting suicide. The conclusion is that we should not be banning instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation from young people.
At New Society Publishers, we stand with the LGBTQ+ community and we do not support this bill.
We must take action and fight for LGBTQ rights. Whether you identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community or not there are many things that you can do to take action and help the LGBTQ+ community. Some of these actions include:
- Learning about and staying up to date on LGBTQ+ issues
- Donating to organizations that help LGBTQ+ people
- Volunteering for organizations that help LGBTQ+ people.
These are just a few of the things that you can do to help, but there are many other ways you can take action.