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  • Writer's pictureGeoff Albert

Why supporting trans and gender diverse children is crucial



Last November, anti-trans efforts hit close to home in Pasadena when a proposal was submitted to the PUSD board policy committee aiming to strip privacy rights from students whose gender identity didn't align with their assigned sex at birth. Collaborate PASadena members, including myself, spoke out against this troubling initiative. Last Thursday, Pasadena Now unveiled our Open Letter in Support of Trans and Gender Diverse Children and Youth. This milestone reflects months of collaborative effort sparked by a pivotal meeting at Young & Healthy, underscoring our commitment to safeguarding every child's well-being in our community.


Last June, I attended a meeting at Young & Healthy that focused on collective trauma and its impact on the community. This meeting was part of their fantastic Coordinated Community Response Initiative, which aims to provide a trauma-responsive approach to critical incidents in our community. The goal is to ensure the best possible outcomes for children and their caregivers impacted by these incidents, particularly in their immediate aftermath, as the community responds in real-time.

 

During this meeting, we discussed various potential critical incidents in our community. My mind kept returning to events earlier in the same month in Glendale. Violence erupted outside a Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) board meeting, where protesters who opposed the rights of LGBTQ+ students, particularly trans and gender non-conforming, clashed with those there to affirm their rights. Although the GUSD board voted to assert the rights and dignity of the students, damage may have already been done to the mental health of GUSD students. What message did this aggression send to Glendale's queer and trans children and youth? Do they feel safe? How will we respond when it happens here?

 

Then, in November, the wave of anti-trans sentiment that has been sweeping our country hit close to home. Were we ready?

 

Community Responses are, by definition, reactive, mitigating the impact of incidents that have already occurred. While it is essential to be prepared to handle emergencies, creating an environment where such incidents are less likely to happen in the first place, when possible, is more effective. Rather than only responding to acts of anti-trans bigotry, we should strive to create a welcoming and affirming atmosphere that supports our trans and gender diverse children and youth and makes it clear that any effort to diminish them is not acceptable. Our open letter, crafted with the help of amazing partners, aims to declare PASadena as a place where every child is loved and accepted for who they are and not who others think they should be. This letter is the first step in building a genuinely inclusive and welcoming community.

 

Please visit our resource page, read the letter, and add your name to the list of 120+ businesses, organizations, and individuals that make up this supportive community.


Geoff Albert is Collaborate PASadena's Executive Director

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