Greetings all,
Each year between November 13 – 19, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility about transgender folx* (pronounced “folks”) and address issues members of the community face. Lab, as a school that is inclusive of gender identity and expression, is “committed to providing an environment where the identities and individual stories of our students, families, and [staffulty] have space to inform their experience at The Lab School” (2020-21 Parent/Student Handbook 10).
This week, transgender folx and their co-conspirators “take action to bring attention to the community by educating the public about who transgender [folx] are, sharing stories and experiences, and advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community” (“Trans Awareness Week”).
Dr. Bettina L. Love, in We Want to Do More than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom, lays out the parameters for being a co-conspirator. As a co-conspirator to the transgender community, I must work towards and understand the following:
  • Understanding where I stand in relation to systems of privilege and oppression, and unlearning the habits and practices that protect those systems, which is lifelong work for me, without exception;
  • Authentic relationships of solidarity and mutuality, which are not possible when I try to avoid or transcend power imbalances;
  • Honestly acknowledging and confronting those imbalances to create authentic relationships;
  • Social change work is always rooted in collaboration, humility, and accountability;
  • The interior journey into silence, meditation, inner wisdom, and deep joy is inextricably linked to the outer work of social change (Love 118)
For those who do not identity, I invite you all to be co-conspirators!
Starter Kit Resources for Co-Conspirators
As Cathy Renna, Communications Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force said, trans folx “want to be seen as multifaceted people – not what they are, [but] who they are.” To that end, I’ve spotlighted some trans folx living out loud along with their own stories.
Ruby Corado, born in El Salvador, but fleeing at 16 because of the Salvadoran Civil War, is an activist who founded Casa Ruby, whose mission is “to create success life stories among transgender, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals, […] without fear of discrimination, harassment, or violence due to their sexual orientation and or gender identity/gender expression.” It is the only LGBTQ bilingual and multicultural organization in the DC area that provides social services and programs catering to the most vulnerable in the city and surrounding areas.
Jazz Jennings, the 20-year-old star of TLC’s I Am Jazz, began living as her authentic self at age 5, and with the support of her parents, asserted her identity as a girl while demanding her school treat her as one. Jennings has since ascended into a role as one of the nation’s foremost trans activists and social media influencers. 
Sarah McBride, Member-elect of the Delaware Senate from the 1st district, when sworn in, will become the first openly transgender person to serve in any state’s senate, making her the highest-ranking transgender official in United States history
Alex Myers, the first openly transgender student at Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard University, is a writer, teacher, and speaker (and a friend and former colleague), is currently an Instructor in English at Phillips Exeter. 
Raquel Willis, a Black transgender activist, award-winning writer, media strategist, former executive director for Out Magazine and former national organizer for the Transgender Law Center (TLC), is currently the Director of Communications for the Ms. Foundation. 
In solidarity,
Dr. Anthony Perry (he/him/él)
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
*“folx” is an alternative spelling of folks. “Folx” is “meant to be a gender-neutral way to refer to members of or signal identity in the LGBTQ community.” See more here: “folx.”