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In Honor of Trans Kids, and Kids and Adults Everywhere Who Long for a More Just World

By SCHR Impact Litigation Director Christina Wilson Remlin

I have been thinking about trans kids throughout this Pride month, and over the Juneteenth and Father’s Day weekend. A recent Trevor Report study found only one in three live in an affirming home. Only one in three live somewhere they are safe to be who they are. In addition to the dangerous rejection so many experience at home, in the public domain they now face a nationwide anti trans youth legislative campaign attacking their health care, their participation in sports, even their ability to use the bathroom, resulting in hundreds of proposed bills, a subset of which have passed in 13 states. These youth feel the impact:

· 93% of transgender and nonbinary youth said that they have worried about transgender people being denied access to gender-affirming medical care due to state or local laws.

· 91% of transgender and nonbinary youth said that they have worried about transgender people being denied access to the bathroom due to state or local laws.

· 83% of transgender and nonbinary youth said that they have worried about transgender people being denied the ability to play sports due to state or local laws.

As a result of family rejection and the over criminalization and bias against them, trans youth are disproportionately overrepresented in child welfare systems and juvenile justice facilities, even though the vast majority have no affirming policies and procedures in place. Trans kids also comprise fifty percent of the unhoused youth population. For far too many, they will grow up and into our nation’s criminalization of poverty, mass incarceration system, and deplorable conditions inside of prison and jails. 21% of trans women have experienced incarceration at some point in their lives, as have 47% of all Black trans people.

The Southern Center for Human Rights works for the equality, dignity and justice of people impacted by the criminal legal system in the Deep South. We fight for a world free from mass incarceration, the death penalty, the criminalization of poverty, and racial injustice. And we envision a world in which the legal system is used not as a tool to concentrate power and control but instead as an instrument of true justice by which individuals and communities remain accountable to each other.

As we honor all that has been sacrificed in the pursuit of greater LGBTQ equality this Pride month, we continue fighting for the humanization of all people, especially those impacted by the criminal legal system. The letters and calls we receive confirm that LGBTQ people, especially transgender and gender non-conforming people, consistently experience the worst that can happen in our prisons and jails, among them the disproportionate use of solitary confinement, lack of access to affirming health care, and an elevated risk of violence, including sexual assaults.

Through our impact litigation and policy and legislative campaigns, we continue to fight alongside our clients for their dignity, inspired by our partnerships with them. We take aim at abusive solitary confinement systems that punish people for mental illness, instead of treating them in accordance with their needs. We take aim at deplorable access to health care, and the punitive segregation of those with certain health needs, such as those living with HIV. We take aim at the corporations and government agencies, that feed off of poverty, and condemn more people in Georgia to probation than any other state in the country.

We encourage you all to join us; to take on this mantle and to fight against dehumanization in all its forms. Because it is only when we see one another as less human that we can be comfortable jailing each other for our inability to pay, stuffing one another into horrendous solitary confinement cells for weeks, months, or years, neglecting dire mental and physical health needs, or turning away in the face of beatings or sexual assault. Dehumanization is the precursor to this evil.

This Pride month, in honor of trans kids, and kids and adults everywhere who long for a more just world, let’s rededicate ourselves to recognizing and fighting for our shared humanity, across all the spectrums.