More than 180 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced so far this legislative session, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, with dozens centered on restricting transgender students in school.
Last year, state legislators introduced 315 anti-LGBTQ bills, according to the Human Rights Campaign. More than 90 percent of the legislation failed as only 29 bills were signed into law, but HRC said it still “marked the passage of the most anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-transgender legislation in recent history.”
— In 2023, more than 80 bills look to restrict the rights of transgender students in schools, according to the ACLU, which is tracking the legislation. The bills include preventing transgender students from participating on sports teams that match their gender identity, restricting access to bathroom facilities and preventing teachers from using their students’ pronouns. About 59 bills restrict access to gender-affirming care.
This was as of January 30, 2023. 180 anti-LGBTQ bills of which 80 specifically target trans kids. More than half of the bills proposed in all of 2022 have been introduced in less than one month.
In Pennsylvania, former candidate for Governor and current rightwing extremist State Senator Doug Mastriano has introduced a bill – with no cosponsors – banning drag performances in public spaces.
Pennridge School District in Upper Bucks County restricted symbols in the classroom related to sexual orientation and gender identity among other classes.
Neighboring school district Central Bucks County followed suit a few weeks later. They also have a new book review policy.
That’s the tip of the iceberg. Tracking school district policies is exhausting unless they hit the mainstream media, but it is IMPERATIVE that we monitor school districts.
And we need to continue to send a sign to all trans and queer youth that we have their backs.
Folx can continue to request individuals signs, stickers, and pens via http://bit.ly/ProtectTransKidsSigns
But we need to do more. Here’s my idea.
First, we need folx in specific neighborhoods to organize a request for signs. Use Facebook, NextDoor, or even word of mouth. Two neighbors in Brighton Heights knew they had neighbors who didn’t use social media, but would support the campaign. They invested in a batch of 50 signs and distributed in the neighborhood. Two organizations serving a rural Western PA community pooled their resources to buy a batch and distribute to their members.
We’ve also organized crowdfund efforts targeting specific communities – like Aliquippa, Beaver County. We worked with local partners to raise the money and they handle distribution.
What’s needed here are a few folks motivated to do the organizing. That means rallying the community to contribute the funds for the batch of 50 and organizing distribution. You need a phone list and a garage. Or the modern equivalent of a phone list.
If there are rumblings in your school district about changing policies that support trans students, this is a solid response. You can bet that 50+ #ProtectTransKids yard signs planted in the ground in a few days sends a message to the school board about the community’s values. Same is true if your elected official is considering sponsoring these vicious bills.
What we need are target communities. I drive through the West End, Beechview, Mt. Washington, and Brookline to get to one of our vet’s offices. I never pass a sign. My regular vet is in Avalon – that’s through Belleview and Avalon. No signs. The list goes on – Dormont, Green Tree, Ross Township, Bethel Park, South Park, Library, Monroeville, Forest Hills – no signs on the routes I use in those neighborhoods.
If you are in a position to donate $580 to direct a box of 50 signs to a specific neighborhood or organization, great. If you can help coordinate sign distribution, great. We can work together to send our LGBTQ kids a sign.
As always, you can request individual signs bit.ly/ProtectTransKidsSigns
There is no fee for a sign, sticker, or pen but we do rely on donations.
- GoFundMe bit.ly/YardSignsFund **Preferred
- Venmo @PittsburghLGBTQ
- Paypal bit.ly/PayPalPLC
- Facebook.com/PittsburghLGBTQ – Click on Donation
- Checks made payable to ‘Pittsburgh LGBTQ Charities’ and mailed to 1439 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15233.
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