Possibilities Not Bans - What Trans Youth Need Now
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Today President Trump announced a ban on trans people openly serving in the US military. The anger, frustration, and hurt comes not simply from this particular ban, but yet from the reminder that trans people are once again denied access to a profession simply based on their gender identity. Whether trans youth had aspirations of serving their country in the future or not, this ban is yet another barrier to trans people having access to the full range of possibilities in world.

For the young people we work with at Side by Side, the possibility of a fulfilling future is what keeps many of them alive. One of our youth summed it up perfectly in this quote from their scholarship essay:

"I still remember the first trans person of color I met. I remember looking into their face and seeing me. I had never seen myself before in someone else. Being able to relate to someone creates a feeling of community that is incomparable. It is the feeling of belonging, and Side by Side gave me that sense of security for the first time in my life. Side by Side showed me that a trans person of color can be successful, can be a leader, and can be so much more than just the different identities." - Side by Side Youth, 18

Laverne Cox calls them "Possibility Models." They are people we see either in our daily interactions, or celebrities and high-profile individuals who share our identities and show us what's possible. They are people like Laverne Cox being the first openly trans person on the cover of TIME magazine. Or Kylar Broadus being the first openly trans man to testify before the US Senate. Or Janet Mock being an openly trans woman and being a two-time New York Times best-selling author. Or Danica Roem being the first openly trans person running for office in Virginia. And possibility models are all the fabulous trans people in our home communities who live every day out and proud at their jobs, in the faith communities, and in their families.

What transgender youth need is to see themselves in adults. They need to see the possibilities that lay ahead for them in the future. So today, when one of those possibilities is banned by the highest office in the land, we must remind our trans youth that there are still possibilities for them. Let's show our trans family that we love them, respect them, and that we will continue to fight for more and more possibilities.

Side by Side encourages our community to share positive images, stories, and possibilities on social media in support of transgender youth.  
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