Lila Perry, a 17-year-old transgender girl in Missouri, is facing backlash after she requested to use the women’s bathroom and locker room. While school officials and the superintendent approved her request, students and parents have push backed.

According to The New York Times, students held a walkout on Monday and a school board meeting last week was packed. A “student physical privacy policy” is also in the works.

Following the uproar, several students and advocates have come together in support of Lila and other transgender youth. To raise awareness, the Missouri Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Network is hosting a rally on Friday.

“Young people, including trans and gender non conforming young people, have the right to education with dignity and equity,” the event page explains. “We are here to show Lila and other trans students around the state of Missouri and around the county that we lift them up when others might try to bring them down.”

Earlier this year, HRC Foundation released its newest guide, Schools In Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools. Made in partnership with the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gender Spectrum, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Education Association, the guide is a first-of-its-kind resource providing a blueprint for safe, supportive and inclusive school environments for transgender youth. 

“It feels really awful that people are going to these extremes against me, not just in school but all over the Internet,” Perry told The New York Times.“But I’ve also received so much support. It feels really surreal to be in the middle of all of this.”

HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools program offers teachers and administrators guidance on supporting transgender children and ways to prevent gender stereotyping.

Welcoming Schools Director Johanna Eager explained, “All students should have access to a welcoming and safe learning environment—including locker rooms and bathrooms---based upon their gender identity and expression."

More information on HRC Foundation's work with LGBT youth can be found here, and its resources on transgender children and youth can be found here.

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