Metro Weekly

Parents of transgender children sign declaration of rights in response to political attacks

Parents call for greater nondiscrimination protections for members of the transgender community

Members of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council – Photo: Human Rights Campaign.

A group of parents of transgender children are demanding protections for their children and other transgender people from discrimination, violence and harassment.

More than 1,400 parents from all 50 states and the District of Columbia have signed the declaration, which calls out the Trump administration and other anti-LGBTQ politicians for pushing initiatives or legislation to restrict transgender rights.

“Despite our progress, we see our children growing up in a world where equality for all is not yet guaranteed — where transgender students are targeted for mistreatment, where transgender workers routinely face discrimination, and where 17 transgender people — mostly trans women of color — have been killed this year alone,” the declaration reads.

It also calls for nationwide, comprehensive protections from discrimination, LGBTQ-inclusive school policies, criminal justice reforms, and access to affirming health care.

“A demand for transgender justice is not a demand for preferential treatment, but rather an insistence upon the fundamental and equal significance of every person on this earth, regardless of gender identity,” the declaration continues. “[W]e insist upon a brighter future for our children. We seek universal respect, dignity, and the promise of safety for our children, and for all transgender people.”

The declaration, which was organized by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and its one-year-old Parents for Transgender Equality Council, drops just as the nation marks Transgender Awareness Week, which concludes with the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20.

On that day, LGBTQ communities around the world hold vigils to honor those transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals who lost their lives due to hate-motivated violence, including those who committed suicide as a result of harassment and being ostracized.

“Our children are not political pawns,” Peter Tchoryk, the parent of a transgender youth and a member of HRC’s parents for Transgender Equality Council, said in a statement. “They are young people simply hoping to learn and live productive lives. But because politicians like Donald Trump and Mike Pence have chosen to target them for discrimination, our families have been called to defend ourselves from their vicious attacks.

“Our country has been here before,” Tchoryk added. “This declaration demonstrates that our families exist in communities across the country and that we won’t relent until our children are safe from discrimination, harassment and violence.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com