Twitterchat: Solidarity with Trans Kids in Sports

On June 14, Equal Rights Advocates led a Day of Solidarity with Trans Kids in Sports to kick off our first Pride Week of Action. The Day of Solidarity featured a Twitterchat discussion with partner organizations:

  • Equal Rights Advocates (Organizer)
  • Center for American Progress LGBTQ
  • Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research (CLEAR)
  • LGBTQ Movement Advancement Project
  • The New York Women’s Foundation
  • Public Justice

Here is a transcript of the conversation that occurred that afternoon on Twitter. Some hashtags and mentions have been removed, and threads have been combined for the sake of easier reading.

Twitterchat

Equal Rights Advocates:
We’re now beginning the Twitterchat for today’s Day of Solidarity with Trans Kids in Sports! For the next 30 minutes, we’ll be discussing recent legislative attacks on trans children, ramifications, and solutions. Partner organizations, please introduce yourselves! 

Center for American Progress: LGBTQ
In solidarity from the LGBTQ team at the Center for American Progress! We do research and advocacy to develop policies to improve the lives and expand the rights of LGBTQ people, giving advocates the tools they need to fight back against attacks like the ones we’ve seen this year.

CLEAR (Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research):
Proud to join you all today! CLEAR works for economic justice, inclusion, & equity for LGBTQ people of all ages so that they can achieve their individual and collective financial goals and thrive!

LGBTQ Movement Advancement Project:
We’re the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), a think tank that provides impactful research and strategic messaging to speed equality and opportunity for all: http://lgbtmap.org
Our LGBTQ Equality Maps provide a comprehensive look at the current state of laws and policies impacting LGBTQ people across the U.S The Equality Maps offer a state-by-state comparison of the policy landscape and gaps in protections for LGBTQ people: http://lgbtmap.org/equality-map Due to state legislative developments, we’ve added two new maps to our Equality Maps. We’re now tracking bans on transgender youth participation in sports and bans on best practice medical care for trans youth: http://lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/healthcare_laws_and_policies/youth_medical_care_bans

The New York Women’s Foundation:
We’re joining Equal Rights Advocates’ #ProtectTransKids Twitter Chat NOW! We create an equitable and just future for women, LGBTQIA individuals and families by uniting a cross-cultural alliance that ignites action and invests in bold, community-led solutions across the city.

Public Justice:
Hi ERA Twitterchat! We support LGBTQIA and trans and nonbinary kids under attack. Our Students’ Civil Rights Project https://bit.ly/3wsQNnK takes on bullying, and gender, and sexual violence.

 

Question 1

Equal Rights Advocates: In the past year, 75 state bills were introduced attacking the rights of trans kids to participate in sports programs and nine states have laws. In what ways do these attacks harm trans children?

Answers

CLEAR (Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research)
By mandating transphobia lawmakers add fuel to an education crisis where trans kids are bullied by peers and adults and kept from participating fully at school—which stands in the way of graduation and success as adults. Extracurricular sports are important for building confidence, skills, and healthy habits that follow students throughout their lives and catalyze scholarships and opportunities to build a better future. These laws stand in the way of trans students achieving their potential.

  • ERA: Absolutely, CLEAR. Sports give kids so much that can have life-long benefits 

(CLEAR:) Instead of discouraging schoolyard bullies, these lawmakers are joining them by reciting misguided beliefs about sex and gender which emboldens bullies at schools to not only keep up their harassment of trans and gender non-conforming students or to go even further than before.

“By mandating transphobia lawmakers add fuel to an education crisis where trans kids are bullied by peers and adults and kept from participating fully at school…” – Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research

Center for American Progress
Our report with Goldberg SK found that discriminatory policies correspond to low self-esteem and higher rates of depression and absenteeism among trans students, who already face a crisis of suicidality. https://americanprogress.org/issues/lgbtq-rights/reports/2021/03/18/497336/fact-sheet-importance-sports-participation-transgender-youth/ 

Public Justice:
We wrote in The Advocate Magazine earlier this year: “[I]nstitutional rejection harms everyone. It sends the message that young people are not reliable narrators of their own lives. We believe they are.” https://t.co/ZMNDHyVdVb?amp=1

LGBTQ Movement Advancement Project:
Young people learn many important life lessons in sports, from confidence and discipline to what it means to belong to a team. Sports are an important part of education, and their opportunities are something no child should be denied simply because of who they are. Learn how we’re tracking harmful state laws that ban transgender kids from participating in school sports across the country: https://aninjusticemag.com/mapping-bans-on-transgender-youth-sports-participation-64e9567373a

Continued below.

Question 2

Equal Rights Advocates: Kids and young people of color who are trans face an appalling amount of hatred and violence, on an institutional and individual level. How can lawmakers and advocates prioritize safety and equality for Black, Native, Latinx, and AAPI trans students? 

Answers

CLEAR (Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research):
States must fix broken funding models that mean schools with more white students get more resources than schools with more BIPOC students and close funding gaps between schools so ALL students have safe, resource-rich learning environments. 

  • ERA: Yes, CLEAR! BIPOC kids need and deserve equal — no, equitable — resources and opportunities. Kids of color already achieve so much with unfairly limited school resources. Just imagine how our whole country would shine brighter with equitable education.

(CLEAR:) State Agencies, districts, and schools must also stop investing in programs to place police in schools, that do not make schools safer but drive the school to prison pipeline with more policing, suspension, disciplinary treatment for BIPOC and trans students.

“Good policies need good data. We need government research to reflect the intersectional experiences of trans kids of color.” – Center for American Progress

Center for American Progress:
Good policies need good data. We need government research to reflect the intersectional experiences of trans kids of color, which is why we’re working with our partners to design best practices for collecting data on LGBTQ people. 

  • ERA: Data collection is SO important for organizations like ours and Center for American Progress We already find impactful ways to affect change & help LGBTQIA+ people, but we could make an even greater impact with the data we need to address issues in a very direct and specific way.

Public Justice:
Lawmakers must recognize that people of color in America face violence, discrimination and even murder on a daily basis because of systemic racism and white supremacism, and recognize that LGBTQIA youth of color are especially harmed.

  • ERA: Public Justice, it is horrific that lawmakers refuse to do the very minimum of just acknowledging the foundation of racism some of our systems and laws are built upon. Especially because their acknowledgement and resulting action could save lives.

Continued below.

The New York Women’s Foundation:
Banning transgender youth from playing sports is harmful to their mental health and development. Transgender youth are regularly discriminated against and experience high rates of family rejection, violence, and suicide.

  • ERA: 100% NY Women’s Foundation. The institutional attacks from adults in positions of power on trans children is even more disgusting because of the high rates of violence and self-harm trans kids already face, especially BIPOC kids.

(NYWF:) Participation in sports provides numerous benefits that can help mitigate the harmful effects of social isolation and discrimination against transgender youths, including, leadership development, teamwork, mentorship, and an extended network of positive peer relationships. The 2019 National School Climate Survey conducted by GLSEN found that LGBTQ youths who experienced discriminatory policies reported lower self-esteem, higher rates of depression, and school absenteeism. Grantee Partner, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund is hosting its 1st ever virtual storytelling event for transgender and non-binary young people on 6/16. The event will feature transgender storytellers and leaders, and aims to amplify community support and love for trans youths: https://transgenderlegal.org/stay-informed/TLDEF-Hosts-Virtual-Storytelling-Event-for-Transgender-and-Non-Binary-Young-People/ 

  • ERA: This sounds like an amazing event! Followers: please attend! This Weds 6/16

 

Question 3

Equal Rights Advocates: How do state anti-trans bills harm trans children living outside those states? What are the larger implications for trans children nationwide?

Answers

CLEAR (Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research):
The sense of stigma and shame that discriminatory laws inspire in hearts and minds of trans children is a weight on trans children and adults across the U.S. and can embolden hateful treatment by bullies even in states without anti-trans bills.

Center for American Progress:
This coordinated hate campaign permeates media even outside the 37 states with anti-trans bills, creating an environment this year where the Trevor Project found 88% of LGBTQ youth reported negative impacts on wellbeing from social media. 

  • ERA: It really is a hate campaign. LGBTQIA+ supporters: take action to oppose anti-trans bills in 3 states that could be voted on soon! Tell lawmakers to stop attacking trans kids in sports https://actnow.io/GABxucX

 

Question 4

Equal Rights Advocates: How can we best #ProtectTransKids? Please share a proposed solution, policy to advocate for, action they can take, where they should donate, etc. solutions or suggestions does your organization have to help trans children or fight for their rights?

Answers

Center for American Progress:
So many ways! Programs like BLACK and PINK’s Opportunity Campus create safe spaces for system-impacted trans youth, and GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network) has model inclusive policies to push for in your school district: https://glsen.org/sites/default/files/2020-11/Model-Local-Education-Agency-Policy-on-Transgender-Nonbinary-Students.pdf 

“Support the creation of spaces made to uplift and support healing for trans youth, namely trans youths of color…” – The New York Women’s Foundation

The New York Women’s Foundation:
#ProtectTransKids by supporting organizations that provide direct legal services to trans and nonbinary young people such as New York Transgender Advocacy Group, Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, Trans Latinx Network, and Sylvia Rivera Law Project. #ProtectTransKids by supporting organizations that advocate for non-discrimination and anti-bullying laws that explicitly include gender identity, specific policies, and trainings that articulate what nondiscrimination means for trans youths. Support the creation of spaces made to uplift and support healing for trans youth, namely trans youths of color, as well as other stigmatized groups such as sex workers, immigrants, persons with disabilities, and others living at the intersection of these identities.

LGBTQ Movement Advancement Project:
Students and parents: You are protected from discrimination based on gender identity by Title IX Learn more about your rights in school and school programs [with ERA’s Know Your Rights guide]: https://equalrights.org/issue/equality-in-schools-universities/sex-stereotypes-discrimination/ 

When it comes to protecting trans kids in medical care, it’s important to note that trans children, like any children, have the best chance to thrive when they are supported and can get the health care they need. State medical care bans are a political attack on these children. Decisions about health care should be made in accordance with current medical best practices. Those decisions should be made by trans youth, parents, and their health care providers—not by politicians. 

  • ERA: MAP, Can you imagine if the lawmakers currently attacking trans kids were to face their own healthcare being decided by someone else?

CLEAR (Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research):
We must pass the Equality Act as a nation. Parents and individuals can also get involved with the Boards that set education policies in their state or district, make their support known, and take action to make sure their schools are able to #ProtectTransKids

Public Justice:
Pass the Equality Act to secure gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes under the federal Civil Rights Act, and ban discrimination against LGBTQ people. No more inequality and second class treatment.

ERA: Please tweet at lawmakers in 3 states TODAY about bills attacking trans kids in sports! These bills could be up for votes soon in Ohio, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. The tweets are pre-drafted and key lawmakers already tagged: https://actnow.io/GABxucX 

 

Conclusion

Equal Rights Advocates: Thank you for your thought leadership in today’s Twitterchat supporting trans kids in sports! Public Justice, New York Women’s Foundation, Center for American Progress LGBTQ, LGBTQ Movement Advancement Project, and Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement and Research! It was a robust discussion filled with crucial info, great resources and important perspectives from leading experts.

  • The New York Women’s Foundation: Thank you for holding space for such an important issue. We are proud to be among such strong leadership and orgs that are working towards advancing equity, safety and justice to #protecttranskids!

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