Our resilience has been the cornerstone of our survival. From the police raids of Compton’s Cafeteria and Stonewall Inn to this era of heartless attacks on our trans community, we have always known how to rise above, show up for each other, and find hope amid the chaos.
This summer, we witnessed the start of a rebellion sparked by a refusal to accept the deeply entrenched systemic racism that people of color experience every day. Trans and queer young people joined these historic demonstrations and did not waver in making one clear demand: that our nation’s institutions denounce white supremacy and intentionally work to protect the lives of of Black and Brown people.
Trans and queer youth are invested in a vision for liberation for our most resilient communities– Non-Binary, Black, and Indigenous people. While many young people who were sidelined from the last election are now eligible to vote, there are countless more young people who are ready to make their voices heard–and to make their vision of a world that is free from white supremacy and patriarchy, and tied to a larger movement for social justice, a reality.
The GSA movement is showing up. We’re showing up for each other in the ways we create and hold space for each other with each new crisis in this relentless year of a global pandemic and massive demonstrations for racial justice. We’re showing up in the ways we continue pushing schools to do better by their students by making virtual learning accessible and inclusive, by making in person learning safe and supportive, by advocating for more restorative justice instead of policing. We’re showing up by training youth and GSA advisors nationwide on how to run virtual GSAs to support Trans and Queer youth.
We’ve held each other up for as long as there have been trans and queer people and we’re not stopping now. We know this election season will be filled with hateful rhetoric, racist dog whistles, and few facts. As activists and organizers, we have demonstrated our resilience in fighting against the institutions and systems that oppress all marginalized people. Yet we also know that our participation in the electoral system is crucial for change–and for our survival. Trans and queer youth know how to organize and mobilize for social justice as often and and fiercely as its needed.
Trans and queer youth are the next generation of leaders and they have more than just a stake in the election. They are committed to ensuring that their lives are taken into account, their communities are protected, and they are an integral part of any conversation that involves their livelihood. Trans and queer youth DO have a voice in this election. There are many ways to be involved from voting to volunteering; from holding signs to holding space. We need all of us to show up in any way that we can, to show anyone who would try to write us off that, in the words of our esteemed matriarch, Miss Major, we are “still fucking here!”