HRC Supports Transgender Youth Through National Emergency

by HRC Staff

Curriculum censorship, book bans, blocking transgender youth from playing sports, and denying youth access to age-appropriate and medically necessary gender-affirming care: 2023 has been the worst year on record for the LGBTQ+ community, with over 80 anti-LGBTQ+ bills becoming law and the majority of those laws targeting transgender and gender-expansive youth.

Even in this National State of Emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans, the HRC Foundation is working directly in communities to positively impact the lives of all LGBTQ+ youth.

As we close out 2023, here are five highlights of our youth engagement work:

Welcoming Schools

Changing Lives for Students by Empowering Educators with LGBTQ+ Competency

Welcoming Schools hosted our 8th annual National Day of Reading in February, when more than 20,000 participants engaged in readings to celebrate transgender and non-binary youth. In 2024, we hope to double our reach.

Here is the link to register and get more information on our 9th annual National Day of Reading.

HBCU Program

Welcomes 32 Students to Leadership Summit

In November, the HRC Foundation welcomed 32 LGBTQ+ students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to the National HBCU Leadership Summit.

The summit offers extensive leadership training and identity development that empowers LGBTQ+ HBCU students to act as change agents on their campuses. The summit helps these students build skills in navigating the intersections of race, religion, gender identity, class and sexual orientation.

This national summit is the only convening exclusively for LGBTQ+ HBCU students and fosters an environment where students can be affirmed in all of their identities, specifically the intersection of being Black and LGBTQ+. These summits provide a transformative experience and build a collective of HBCU LGBTQ+ student activists dedicated to equity, inclusion and justice on their respective campuses and in the community.

All Children — All Families

Releases New Guidance to Support Transgender Youth in Care

In August, the All Children — All Families program released guidance on the placement of transgender, non-binary and gender-expansive youth in congregate care settings such as group homes or residential treatment facilities.

ACAF shares best practices to ensure placement discussions affirm the child's gender identity and are not solely focused on the child's sex assigned at birth.
From important considerations for engaging transgender young people in the process, to guidance on respecting the gender identity of youth in care, child welfare professionals can utilize this resource to improve their services for trans youth.

Youth Well-Being

Welcomes 10 New Youth Ambassadors

In September, HRC welcomed 10 new Youth Ambassadors from across the country. These young LGBTQ+ advocates are leading efforts to make change in their home communities and sharing their experiences with educators and youth-serving professionals. HRC empowers young advocates to take their expertise, experience and knowledge to a national level.

Here are the stories of a few of our new Youth Ambassadors who are making change for themselves and their peers:

  • Ray, 17, of Kentucky, drove himself 45 minutes to Frankfort to fight anti-trans legislation

  • Hildie, 13, of Minnesota, fights for gender-affirming care

  • Rehman, 18, founded a non-profit, iCure, and works with the World Health Organization

  • Meet the full 2023 class of HRC Youth Ambassadors here.

Parents for Transgender Equality National Council

Raises Awareness Through New Short Documentary Film

“The Dads” is a short, award-winning documentary film made by HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council alum Luchina Fisher, and scooped up by Netflix and Dwyane Wade, who is now the executive producer of this groundbreaking film.

“The Dads” captures poignant moments shared during a fishing trip among five PTEC dads who are raising trans children, along with Dennis Shepard, the father of slain gay college student Matthew Shepard. The film brings to light the powerful voices of dads who are boldly and lovingly navigating a journey with a trans child.

There is a discussion guide that can be used for small groups, such as families, or with larger group screenings. PTEC dads are making the rounds at film festivals and community events, offering talkbacks and panel discussions as part of the film screening, and we offer a discussion guide that can be used for small groups, such as families, or with larger group screenings.

Sadly, 2024 is shaping up to be another challenging year for transgender and gender-expansive youth, as anti-LGBTQ+ bills are already being discussed in statehouses across the country.

Transgender youth will not be erased.
Transgender youth will not go back in the closet.

Transgender youth are a part of every community, and HRC will continue to fight to support them, empower them, and advocate for their rights and dignity.