Happy Pride Month! Pride joyfully celebrates the contributions of LGBTQ+ communities and catalyzes continued advocacy work for equity, equality and belonging for all. Pride Month is also a time to remember and honor those whose lives have been lost to hate crimes and institutional homophobia.
During Pride Month and all year long, LGBTQ+ people and their allies highlight the lived experiences, the joys and challenges, of transgender and nonbinary people in our communities, as well as working to create safe and affirming spaces in the workplace for people to live their authentic lives.
Transgender is defined as relating to a person whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. This umbrella term may refer to someone whose gender identity is woman or man, or to someone whose gender identity is nonbinary (a person who does not identify, or identify solely, as either a woman or a man).
Transgender and nonbinary people come from all walks of life and everywhere in the world and are of all races, ages and religions. They are your family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, civic and religious leaders and your kids’ classmates.
Uplifting transgender experiences and voices
The trans equality movement got its start, in part, following the June 1969 Stonewall uprising in New York City. Stonewall was a weeklong series of protests for LGBTQ+ equality, a response to seemingly never-ending harassment and intimidation of the queer and transgender communities by police in the city. In June 1970, activists marked the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots with a march on New York’s Central Park—the first Pride parade.
At the forefront of the Stonewall uprising was a true trailblazer in the fight for equality and bodily autonomy: Marsha P. Johnson, a Black transgender woman and self-identified drag queen, AIDS activist and co-founder of the Gay Liberation Front. Johnson was the probable (though never confirmed) homicide victim of anti-transgender violence – which has become an epidemic, particularly aimed at young trans women of color.
Unfortunately, in the last two years attempts to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth, trans youth participation in sports and even ban insurance companies that provide trans adults with healthcare have put the basic human rights of transgender lives at risk. In fact, there are some 400 legislative actions being taken across North America to abolish, restrict or eliminate the rights of transgender individuals right now.
UWHR’s Transgender resources for UW employees outlines University policies, procedures and resources that are available to those considering transition, including how to change one’s name in Workday and elsewhere on campus.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) See Each Other. Save Trans Lives campaign is amplifying everyday stories of resilience, joy and humanity among the trans community by working to break the connection between anti-trans stigma and violence against the transgender and nonbinary communities.
Centering the youth experience
In legislative sessions around the country in the past two years, dozens of harmful and discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ pieces of legislation were proposed. Organizations like the ACLU have been tracking and actively fighting these acts in court. These acts are especially harmful to youth, many of whom report bullying and harassment at school.
A national survey by GLSEN, a nonprofit focused on making America’s schools safer for all, found that regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, 75% of transgender youth feel unsafe in school and 59% are denied access to the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.
According to research from The Trevor Project, the incredible stress of denying one’s identity and the continuous burden of defending and advocating for themselves, in addition to the increased likelihood of experiencing harassment, are causes of the increased experience of depression, suicidal thoughts and hopelessness in transgender youth.
As part of the TransYouth Project, a large-scale, national longitudinal study of more than 300 socially transitioned transgender children, researchers are finding that transgender youth who feel supported by their families and communities measure closely to the mental health of their cisgender peers.
Allowing transgender youth to participate in sports teams in line with their gender identity, asking youth how they identify and using their pronouns, and creating space that offers psychological safety all support avenues for LGBTQ+ youth to thrive in their communities.
Learn more and get involved
Outside of the courtroom, there are many actions you can take to protect transgender youth and proudly stand with LGBTQ+ communities this Pride Month:
Human Rights Campaign’s Be an Ally – Support Trans Equality: This resource page offers a checklist of ways to support the transgender and nonbinary communities. Also check out HRC’s Myths and Facts: Battling Disinformation About Transgender Rights.
A Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth: It can be tough for transgender and nonbinary people to bear the burden of educating others about their lived experiences. This guide will help begin your education on the basics of gender identity and expression.
Black and LGBTQ: Approaching Intersectional Conversations: For people with multiple marginalized identities, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to explore the layers of these conversations with others who don’t have the same experience of marginalization. Here are some approaches to consider before, during and after a difficult conversation to make sure the dialogue — and your mental health — stays safe.
How to Support Bisexual Youth: This guide is an introductory educational resource that covers a wide range of topics and best practices for supporting the bisexual youth in your life, which may include yourself! Educating ourselves is an ongoing practice, and how we define and express identity is an ongoing journey.
LGBTQ+ Student Rights: This guide, created by GLSEN, ACLU, PFLAG, and the National Women’s Law Center, outlines LGBTQ+ students’ rights.
LGBTQ+ Allyship: How to Show Up for the LGBTQ+ Community (UW Medicine Right as Rain)
For the Gworls: A Black, transgender-led mutual aid collective that provides Black transgender people with assistance with their rent and their affirmative surgeries, as well as doctors’ and therapy visit copays.
TransFamilies inspires hope, increases understanding, and creates a visible pathway to support trans and gender diverse children and all those who touch their lives.
Meet transgender people in the UW community
My story: Fighting to be seen, fighting to be heard: Meet UW Bothell alumna Jesse Blaire, ’22, who completed a double major in Law, Economics & Public Policy and in Society, Ethics & Human Behavior. Jesse shares a reflection on navigating intersectional identities, their studies, and our world on the UW Bothell news blog.
Advocating for acceptance: Meet gender-diversity trailblazer Sean Johnson: As program director for UW Medicine’s Transgender and Gender Non-Binary Health Program, Sean is using his lived experience as the first UW employee to transition on the job using UW Medicine providers to inform his work assisting people in finding comprehensive gender-affirming care.
Meet Lucas Harrington of the UW Autism Center: As a neurodiverse transgender person, Lucas has had his share of challenges in achieving true inclusion in society. His work at the UW Autism Center, which values the whole person and welcomes people of all identities, has helped him embrace his queer identity and claim his neurodiversity as a source of pride.
Fierce compassion: Meet gender equity and justice advocate Lauren Lichty: As a faculty member at UW Bothell, Lauren has felt supported by their community to explore professionally identifying as non-binary and genderqueer, moving toward use of they/them pronouns and helping people to understand the non-binary experience—in short, bringing their authentic identity to work every day.
Support through UWCFD
Consider making a one-time contribution or setting up payroll deduction to UWCFD member organizations working to positively impact the lives and well-being of LGBTQ+ people:
Human Rights Campaign (charity code 0315683): HRC envisions a world where every member of the LGBTQIA+ family has the freedom to live their truth without fear, and with equality under the law.
The Q Center at UW (charity code 0493258): The Q Center is the professionally supported resource, advocacy and mentoring center for queer students and concerns at UW. It provides consulting for various departments on campus on bolstering safety and respect for queer students, and also coordinates numerous programs, social organizations and educational initiatives.
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) (charity code 0456944): GLAAD is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
GLSEN: Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (charity code 1479258): Eight of ten LGBTQ+ students are bullied or harassed in schools. GLSEN makes America’s schools safer for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Camp Ten Trees (charity code 1468090): Camp Ten Trees offers residential summer camp sessions for LGBTQIA+ and allied youth and for children of LGBTQIA+ families. Since 2001, Camp Ten Trees has been a place for campers to build skills, strengthen resiliency and make lifelong friends.
Entre Hermanos (charity code 0524060): Works to improve the health and well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Latino/a communities in a safe and culturally appropriate environment.
The Trevor Project (charity code 1479131): The Trevor Project offers lifesaving, life-affirming programs and services to LGBTQIA+ youth to create safe, accepting and inclusive environments over the phone, online and through text.
Lambert House (charity code 0320828): Lambert House empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth through the development of leadership, social, and life skills. Online support groups and virtual programming includes BIPOC only youth space, weekly space for LGBTQIA+ youth to chat, and interest based activity sessions.
Looking for support, or know someone who is?
If you or someone you know is transgender and needs to talk, check out these resources:
- The Trans Lifeline can be reached at 877-565-8860
- The LGBT national hotline is available at 1-888-843-4564. They also provide a LGBT senior hotline at 1-888-234-7243 and LGBTQ Youth can call 1-800-246-7743 or join youth chat rooms here.
- The Trevor Project crises counselors can be reached at 1-866-488-7386. Text ‘START’ to 678-678 to connect via text message, or chat online here.
- The SAGE LGBT Elder Hotline can be reached at 1-877-360-5428
- Dial 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They also provide a Lifeline Chat here, and additional LGBTQ resources here.
- Transfamilies hosts free virtual parent support groups on zoom. The available sessions can be found here.
UWHR employee engagement programs (The Whole U, UW Combined Fund Drive, and WorkLife) affirm and celebrate people of all sexual and gender orientations, identities and expressions and encourage volunteerism, advocacy and support of nonprofits working in this space.