a.t. Furuya (they/them)
Youth Programs Manager, GLSEN
This year, anti-LGBTQ+ politicians have introduced hundreds of bills that try to take away basic health care rights from transgender children and block them from participating in sports with their friends. As a transgender person, I know how devastating it is to be told I can’t have access to life-saving medical care. As a former student athlete and now high school coach, I know from experience that transgender student athletes just want the same things as other kids — a chance to be part of a team with their friends and release their energy through physical activity.
I’ve dedicated my career to supporting transgender kids and other LGBTQ+ kids by working with GLSEN to promote inclusion in K-12 schools. Each day, I work with children who put their safety on the line by sharing their personal stories and fighting for what’s right. They represent a generation of strong, compassionate leaders who we must all listen to and learn from. The truth is, no kid should ever have to justify their existence or stand up to politicians, coaches, or teachers who try to tell them they’re less deserving than their classmates just because they’re transgender. Adults like me — and you — need to protect these student athletes so they can focus on their education and grow up to reach their full potential.
We can each do our part to protect the kids in our families, schools, and neighborhoods by calling on our elected representatives to fight back against anti-transgender bills and instead support strong nondiscrimination protections, like those found in the Equality Act. Their lives depend on it. This Pride month, we have a chance to make sure that transgender kids, and all kids, can be proud of who they are. I’m proud to support them. Are you?