High school students walked out of their classrooms and took to the streets of Philadelphia to voice their opposition to three Pennsylvania House bills (138, 216, and 319) which target gender affirmation care, trans athletes, and sexual education in public schools, respectively.
In total, there were hundreds of students and advocates who gathered around City Hall during Tuesday’s lunch rush.
After thanking demonstrators, many of whom came prepared with protestors demanding protections for trans rights, organizer Wes Allen, a student at Central High School, said the emerging anti-trans legislation in the U.S. is a form of genocide.
“There are ten stages to genocide, and America has reached stage seven, which is preparation,” Allen said. “If we are going to allow these bigoted politicians to prepare, to continue to prepare to persecute and eradicate the trans community, what are we doing? We will not let this happen.”
Lily Brenner, a transgender woman, agreed with Allen’s take, adding that trans individuals have become the, “newest political football.”
“I’m legitimately afraid for my well-being and the well-being of my trans siblings,” Brenner said. “For me to be afraid and for these kids, these high school kids, to still come out and protest is just a staggering thing. It’s incredible.”
Red Whelan, also a student at Central High, said they were proud of every student, “who is walking out and demanding their rights.”
“It’s a scary thing to walk out of your school environment and say, ‘You know, I know that I don’t have voting rights, I know I don’t have legislative power yet, but you have to acknowledge us,’” Whelan said.
At least 12 states have passed legislation to limit or ban gender-affirming health care for young people, and at least five states have passed legislation to protect transgender health care.
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