Chris Wilkinson, Terry, Georgia discussed on Democracy Now! Audio
First state to ban gender. Affirming care to trans-youth earlier. This month arkansas tennessee and mississippi enacted new laws aimed at banning trans athletes from joining sports teams in tennessee. The legislation forces trans students to show legal documents revealing the sex. They were assigned at birth in order to participate in middle and high school. Sports and in south dakota republican governor christie gnome issued two executive orders monday banning trans women and girls from playing school sports as attacks against the trans community intensify so has their resistance with trans-youth leading the fight against violence and discrimination trans seventh grader. Chris wilkinson who plays football for north middle school and harrisburg south dakota. His last score refused to let him. It's team because he's trans. Wilco said football has saved. His life did not exist. I don't think i would be here. Respect the person next to you in the person behind you just let them live their life the way they want to and makes them feel accepted. Because that's all anyone ever wants. Today is international trans day visibility which this year was marked with a week of action urging people to be active in the fight against antitrust legislation violence and discrimination joining us. Now a rocco willis activists award winning writer former executive editor of out magazine and former national organizer for transgender law center. And chase strange. You the deputy director for transgender justice with the lgbt an hiv project. Raquel and chase cole road. A new piece in the nation titled visibility alone will not keep transgender youth safe. We welcome you both packed a democracy. Now chase strange. Let's begin with you. Can you review for us. The laws that are being voted on a cross country store with the latest arkansas. We are truly witnessing and escalation of attacks on trans people. Unlike anything i've ever seen in government this week the arkansas senate passed. hp fifteen seventy a sweeping bill that would strip young people of healthcare that we know they need to survive. It is going to the governor's desk. We only have four more days for him to veto. This bill and young people and their families across arkansas are already planning for the worst. People are considering fleeing their homes. Having to relocate to other states. Young people are in sheer panic. We have to understand. This is medically supported care approved by every major medical association. That people need to stay well to stay alive and we were on the verge of having that stripped away from hundreds of people across the state of arkansas and unfortunately there are similar bills pending currently in alabama and tennessee part of this wave of anti trans legislation that started at the beginning of twenty twenty one and has escalated throughout the state legislative sessions and chase to. What do you attribute this sudden wave of legislation and all various states across the country. I mean you know. This year is particularly egregious and sweeping. But this is something that is been the culmination of work from an anti trans anti lgbtq lobby for the past at least seven years and of course we can trace this history going back much much longer we can look at the moral panic of anita bryant of phyllis schlafly and even just looking in one hundred years in the past and the ways in which colonial powers used regulation and control over upset bodies to exert power. So there's a long history here. I think what we're seeing today in state. Legislatures is a particular effort to pivot from the anti trans restroom bills into a new form of regulation of trans young people and trans bodies and they have seen an opening because they built alliances even with some people who consider themselves liberals and progressives who have either remained relatively complacent or who have joined forces and the attacks on trans young people. So right now. We're seeing an escalation in super majority republican legislatures where we are not countering that escalation with the appropriate level of resistance given the magnitude of harm that is going to result to bring into the conversation. Rocco you tweeted the quote. The gop continues to terrorize communities on the margins. All across this country. This is why we must come together on these fights as a black trans woman from georgia. It's not lost on me of these fights against people of color and lgbt lgbtq. Folks are connected. Can you elaborate on that absolutely. Yeah you know. i'm from georgia. And when i think about my life all of my identities have played a role in in the way that i've navigated society and of course the way that i have been made a target and so when i think about the recent passage of voter voter restriction back in Georgia i think about the wave and woods. It's all about policing communities of color and and that is completely tied to this fight and this onslaught against trans people. It's about policing our bodies right. And so this is about us interrogating what power looks like and how it is wielded within our society it makes absolutely no sense for these people to be trying to control the lives of vulnerable communities. And when i think about trans children is so horrible how they are being stripped of their childhood and not even look out the humans that they are. I wanted to ask chase about one of the. Aclu's clients dry a year would black trans student athlete. Andre is a recent high school graduate. Who ran on our schools. Girls track team. Let's go to her in her own words. One of the issues Our community is facing. It hasn't been facing for while is misinformation in general who we are in our community stands for in our community is and wanting to combat that is education more more education within our school system. So that people don't say oh that's a man or woman miss gender education very important in having to understand what we as a community. What gets you will stand for chase. Can you tell us about intra. Yeah so i just want to start by saying under a year. Would and terry miller too young trans athletes from connecticut to young black women who have endured so many attacks simply for existing and participating in school sports alongside their peers. As they have every right to do andrea is young person who graduated from high school. She was a track athlete. She trained every day for four hours. Worked so hard loved the sport. And how is she rewarded for that. She is the centerpiece of attack campaign with pieces on fox. News targeting her a lawsuit brought by alliance defending freedom on behalf of sis gender athletes trying to block her from running in her senior year which ultimately all of their senior seasons were cancelled because of covid but the lawsuit continues even though she has quit the sport altogether due to the ongoing harassment that she experienced the lawsuit is continuing because they are trying to strip her and terry of their past titles and any win that they have achieved. They're trying to get it. You raised from records even records that are hanging in their individual high schools. They have been the subject of so much misinformation and assault and claims that they have displaced this gender athletes when all they were doing was running consistent with their rights under state and federal law winning sometimes they lost this gender athletes. And i think an important clarification point here is that there are claims that gender athletes are going to be somehow displaced in scholarships by transgender athletes. No trent out. Transgender woman are athlete from high school has ever achieved or received athletic scholarship to compete in flex at the collegiate level. Because there is so much discrimination. Terry and andrea never once got a recruitment call even though all of this gender athletes who are trying to block them from participating are currently on athletic scholarship in division one schools. We have a serious conversation to have about. How much discrimination trans people are facing and yet they're still escalating attacks if you can also elaborate on that raquel and talk about the peace. The two of you co authored for the nation visibility alone will not keep transgender youth safe. What will rock cal. Yeah i mean. I think a big part of the work that safe and i have been partnering on over this last week. As we've expanded trans day visibility into trance week of visibility and action is really getting people to be about that action. And so that means we can't just rest on some of the social strides that we've made whether it's in hollywood or on different screens and these different sector. Those things are powerful and great and we definitely need to see more of our stories in media in the way but we also need to be using that action. Such chains are material reality and protect our right and so this week has rarely been for us all about getting people mobilize so that they can contact makers let them know that trans people have a whole group. Folks who support us are behind us who love us and wanted to see us. Safe and protected when i think about Trans you i think about two trans youth who actually really inspired me because of the way that their lives ended just a few years ago so within months of each other leila alcorn young trans girl and blake rocking sending young trans boy die by suicide right and we know based on the things that they said and the people who knew them and of course a suicide letter leila had published online after she pads is that they felt like they were not being supported that there was no future for them out openly trans youth. And i'm afraid that if we don't get involved and be active we're gonna see that trend continue and chase. Give us a quick shake on her. How you see the biden administration of the actions. It's taken on behalf of the trans community in three first three months of the presidency. I think we've seen some important federal executive actions coming down from this administration. And i hope to see way. More aggressive and robust actions from this administration enforcing federal civil rights laws. I also you know as we think about what today represents i also want to hold the fact that the law alone isn't isn't gonna save us that we are ultimately going to have to energize and mobilize and build power for our. If i think of the two things to central things for me as a trans person that saved my life or sports and health care and those are things that are being stripped away from our young people and yes we already have the legal rights. It's all of these bills are illegal. They violate title nine. They violate the constitution. But we need mass mobilization resources to our translate organizations and support for our communities materially beyond what visibility can afford. And even beyond what the law can afford chase. You spoke to joanna brand the mother of a fifteen year old trends boy ahead of arkansas state. Senate vote earlier this month. This is joanna speaking about the importance of gender. Affirming care for her son dylan today. After two years of therapy doctors visits and almost eighteen months gender affirming hormone therapy and don is happy. Healthy confident and hopeful for his future is outside now. Mattress deals on the inside and his support to other. Lgbt kids tramps Trans girls our girls in trans boys. Our boys denying access to gender affirming. Healthcare is denying the right to be themselves. My son will be devastated if he is forced to stop his hormone treatment. All of the progress that he has made all the plans to be able to graduate from high school and go off to college presenting outwardly. In the full expression of how does the insider would come to a screeching halt. It would be heartbreaking. Not only for him but for all the other trans youth in arkansas. That depend on this care chase strange you. It looks like the governor is going to sign this legislation. is that right. I am hopeful that we can mobilize for. Vito and i think everyone should take action. We have a few days. Tell him tell him to veto it because it will send a message to trans young people and even if he does be to it. It's a simple majority override in the state legislature so we are preparing litigation because we want trans people to know that we will defend their ability to access us life. Saving care through any possible tool that we have in our toolbox and your final comments on this day of trans visibility racquel willis. Yes i mean. I think that we have to continue to have a nuance discussion about what visibility mean there are so many great strides that come from it but it also makes our community more of a target and the other thing i wanna say is that it's important for us along with being in contact with lawmakers to make sure. We're supporting the organizers and organizations who are on the front lines and lift every day so donate support their work. And we'll continue to move. Forward racquel willis leading transgender activists We will link to your and chase strangers. Peace in the nation headline visibility alone will not keep transgender youth safe chase stranger deputy director for transgender justice with the aclu next up state so excluding incarcerated people from saving covid nineteen. Vaccines will look at. How a new york judge has ruled this unfair and.