From sports to healthcare to simply existing, transgender and nonbinary people have always faced discrimination. And though newfound visibility and support in the media may make it seem as if the U.S. has made progress in its attitude toward gender issues, it’s evident after an objective look at the so-called progress we’ve made that the non-cisgender community has continued to suffer.
The U.S. has taken a huge step back in terms of LGBTQ+ legislation in 2021, with the enactment of more anti-LGBTQ+ bills into law than any other year. More than 250 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures — over 100 of which target non-cisgender rights.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that the Center for American Process reported more than one in three LGBTQ+ Americans and more than three in five transgender Americans have faced discrimination in 2020, with younger generations reporting more discrimination than older generations.
Despite Palo Alto’s left-leaning environment, homophobia, transphobia and discrimination still resides in our community and manifests in hate incidents like the anti-trans posters plastered around Mitchell Park in 2018 and hate crimes like the assaults against LGBTQ+ victims in our surrounding area in 2020.
Though many of the trans and nonbinary students interviewed in this issue’s Spotlight said their PAUSD schools have been primarily accommodating, it’s apparent there is still room for improvement for our district in creating a safe space for people of all gender identities.
Eight out of the 96 PAUSD Title IX complaints filed in the 2019-2020 school year reported harassment based on gender identity.
It is shameful as a district to not be able to provide every student an education with the guarantee of safety on our campuses, and we all should be more actively striving for change.
The Campanile supports and stands with the trans and nonbinary community; the entire Paly community should too.
In these times of hate, ignorance and fear-mongering, we all have a responsibility to speak out and protect the rights and safety of our non-cisgender classmates and community members. Respecting peoples’ gender identities is essential in creating a safe school environment for every student, and we urge students to educate themselves on the subject of gender identities and other LGBTQ+ topics, be more aware of gendered language and microaggressions and stand up for trans peers when they feel unsafe.
We are making an effort to include more trans and nonbinary voices in our publication by interviewing more non-cisgender sources, and trans and nonbinary students always have a platform for publication through guest columns in our paper. Interested students should email firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition, our Spotlight this issue covers the topic of student gender identity. We are Palo Alto High School’s newspaper, and we cannot represent our student body without including and supporting the non-cisgender community on our campus and in our community.
Let’s bring gender identity harassment incidents down to where they should be — zero.