“Why fight?” asked Claire, “Why fight for any rights, why would any person fight for their rights?” These words echoed through an empty room late Monday afternoon during an interview with Claire Renee, a transgendered woman who has suddenly shot into the spotlight advocating for the fair and equal treatment of transgender children and teens. “Why would a person of color fight for their rights, why would workers fight for their rights, why would children and people with disabilities fight for their rights?”
“Separate but equal does not work, we have seen that throughout history.” Claire, a fairly unassuming woman, at first glance may not draw to much attention, but at a meeting last week she proved among others that she was a voice worth hearing. “I had something to say,” Claire responded when asked why she chose to speak on the issue of transgender children playing sports that align with their preferred gender.
The Meeting took place on October 2 at the Minnesota State High School League, and by all accounts the mood was mostly positive. More than 20 people attended to advocate for the policy. “While others did speak at the meeting to oppose the policy the mood remained respectful” said Claire. There are many more like Claire that know all too well, not only the importance of self-expression, but also the need to end discrimination as most transgendered persons face the fear of abuse not only in public but also at work, hospitals, school, and for some in their own homes. “You know, your hiding when your six, when your 18, 20, 30 , and 45.” Claire stated, “ this leads to depression and even suicide, If I can help these kids so they don’t have to hide, maybe they won’t have to feel depressed or suicidal.” “All young folks have the right to be who they are, Period,” exclaimed Outfronts Assoc. Director of Trans Organizing and Co-Director of the Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition, Roxanne Anderson. “It’s the right thing to do.”
After a night filled with strong emotions, concern and conversation, the vote was tabled to allow for further revision and investigation of the new policy, and any concerns for safety of those it would affect, with a new vote scheduled for early December of this year. “This is not the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Claire. “Only one in every eight people knows a transgender person, that means that seven out of eight people don’t understand that this isn’t about sexuality, this isn’t about boys showering with girls, this is about the true fluidity of gender and being able to openly self-identify with who you feel you are.” The Minnesota State High School League could not be reached for a response regarding the policy or its implications at the time of this article.
For more information on this policy and other resources go to www.mshsl.org, www.outfront.org , www.mntranshealth.org. For statistics related to transgender discrimination and suicide rates, please visit http://www.endtransdiscrimination.org/report.html.
Blog By Alex Michaels