Trans and queer youth are demanding radical change in their schools. They continue to rise up against the systemic failings of educational institutions to provide safe learning environments for them. And they are boldly calling out school administrators for their role in perpetuating school pushout--the systematic way in which teachers and staff disproportionately suspend and expel trans and queer youth, youth of color, low-income youth, until they end up in juvenile detention centers.
This Give OUT Day, we are shining a light on those students who are actively rising up and challenging those policies that trap trans and queer youth of color in the school-to-prison pipeline, that deny them the freedom to live authentically, and erases their experiences --their truth-- in schools across the country.
We see their identities, opinions, and lives being questioned, invalidated, diminished, and dismissed by teachers and school administrators who try to instill fear and use violent tactics disguised as policies to silence their voice.
We see the way in which trans and queer youth of color are slowly--yet very obviously-- pushed to the margin, labeled as disruptive students, and pushed out of school due to ‘willful disobedience’ or ‘willful defiance’ while ignoring the rights that these students have to an education that is free from discrimination and harassment from the same teachers and administrators who are supposed to provide safe learning environments.
And we see how the federal Department of Education very quickly turned its back and specifically took a shot at trans and gender nonconforming students: first, reversing guidance on how schools can create safe and welcoming climates for them, and then openly and ‘officially’ stating that they won’t hear their complaints. And we know they won’t stop there. They are now poised to reverse guidance on nondiscriminatory administration of school discipline.
Trans and queer youth of color won’t give up on their relentless pursuit for just schools. Neither will we. We are united with them as they call out the oppressive and violent tactics they face every day, and will keep uplifting the change they want and need. Trans and queer youth are redefining school safety. They’re shifting the narrative. They’re are creating a vision for liberation and making it real. It’s time we all show up for trans and queer youth.
GSA Network is a next-generation LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization that empowers and trains trans, queer, and allied youth leaders to advocate, organize, and mobilize an intersectional movement for safer schools and healthier communities. In California, GSA Network connects over 1,000 GSA clubs through regional summits and youth councils. Nationally, GSA Network leads the National Association of GSA Networks which unites 40 statewide networks of GSA clubs, and GSAs Unite, an online campaign and petition platform supporting youth organizers across the country.