With waves of anti-trans legislation affecting trans youth and adults across several states, it can feel like we are moving backwards. While these legislative attacks are undeniably damaging to trans and nonbinary people’s safety and wellbeing, new strategies have emerged to challenge this wave of legislation and further affirm and support trans and nonbinary individuals.
One strategy to counter feelings of overwhelm and hopelessness is familiarizing ourselves with organizations finding creative solutions to support the trans community. In this blog post, we will highlight three ways that organizations are taking steps to protect trans rights. Every community (by geography or online) has other resources. We encourage you to connect with those who support trans equity and are working toward change.
Biden’s executive order. On June 16th, 2022, President Biden signed an Executive Order to support LGBTQ+ rights on the federal level. Amid the historic number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills being proposed, this Executive Order offers some hope for resisting harmful legislation.
The Executive Order directs federal health and education agencies to “expand access to gender affirming care and advance LGBTQ-inclusive learning environments” in schools. It will also cut federal funding for conversion therapy. Biden continues to push Congress to pass the Equality Act, which would further protect LGBTQ+ rights on the federal level.
The executive director of the Trevor Project, Amit Paley, commented on Biden’s Executive Order:
“This historic executive order will advance long-sought, LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices that will help save young LGBTQ lives.”
The Church of Prismatic Light. While many trans and nonbinary people have challenging relationships to religion, some find comfort and connection in spiritual communities. The Church of Prismatic Light is a secular church that started in 2022 with the intention of challenging anti-LGBTQ+ legislation on the basis of religious freedom. Tiffany Holloway from Oklahoma founded the church to support her transgender son.
In addition to holding core values of bodily autonomy, love without discrimination, and access to gender affirming and reproductive health care, the Church of Prismatic Light views transitioning as a sacred act. On their website, they write:
“When you transition to make your outward appearance match who you are truly inside you, that is an act of worship. Worship yourself, your worth, and the light that shines inside you. When you are transitioning, meditate on the inner strength it takes to bravely be yourself in the face of oppression. You are worthy, you are unique, you are holy, and you are light.”
Although not everyone may feel comfortable or want to associate with a religious group, the Church of Prismatic Light hopes to challenge anti-LGBTQ+ legislation by protecting trans and LGB rights as part of their religious tenets. This creative approach opens new avenues for affirming LGBTQ+ rights.
PFLAG. PFLAG, founded in 1973, is an organization dedicated to advocating for LGBTQ+ people and their families. After recent legislation in Texas that resulted in parents of trans youth being investigated for child abuse, PFLAG took action to protect trans youth and their families.
Several organizations, including Lambda Legal and the ACLU, filed a lawsuit on behalf of PFLAG to prevent the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from investigating parents of transgender youth who support their children in accessing gender-affirming care.
This action has successfully protected families of transgender youth who are a part of a local PFLAG chapter. Brian K. Bond (he/him), Executive Director of PFLAG National, said:
“Let’s be clear: These investigations into loving and affirming families shouldn’t be happening in the first place. PFLAG National and our chapters throughout Texas remain committed to ensuring every transgender Texan is safe, empowered, and can thrive.”
These three organizations have taken steps to protect trans and LGBQ+ rights under the law. To learn more about other organizations contributing to this important work, visit glaad.org.