Marches for 'Queer & Trans Youth Autonomy' take place all over Ohio
Marches and rallies for Queer & Trans Youth Autonomy took place in seven Ohio cities Friday.
They are part of a nationwide effort by Queer Youth Assemble, a nonprofit dedicated to serving queer youth under 25 in the U.S.
The hope, organizers said, is to gather support for legislation targeting queer and transgender youth, such as bans on conversion therapy and allowing transgender athletes to participate in sports teams that correspond with their identity.
A few dozen folks marched from the Cleveland Heights Community Center to Cleveland Heights City Hall Friday morning in one of several local protests. Jeanette Daphne Thomas caught the tail end of it.
“There are tons of trans kids out there who need to see us and we can help bolster their young spirits,” Daphne Thomas said. “To show them that there is a life for them. That they can be whatever gender they want or feel or none at all, and it’s all valid.”
Dan Rice from Berea spoke about the legislation proposed in Ohio that he says could have a negative effect on trans youth.
House Bill 6 would ban transgender females from playing on female sports teams from kindergarten through college. House Bill 8 could require teachers to tell parents if their children come out to them in confidence. House Bill 68 would ban certain types of gender-affirming care.
“I was able to receive gender-affirming care and that was life saving for me,” Rice said.
More than 50% of transgender and non-binary youth in states across the U.S. seriously considered suicide in 2022, according to a survey by the Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention.
“After I came out and was able to receive care and acceptance, I have not had a single suicidal thought since,” Rice said. “It is incredibly important to think of the trans youth and to protect them when it comes to this type of legislation”
Queer Youth Assembly created a list of topics and political demands that the marches hope to spotlight, including passing the Equality Act, requiring LGBTQ+ history education in schools and requiring that health practitioners be familiar with and follow the World Professional Association for Transgender Health standards for trans healthcare.
Queer Youth Assembly has a list of 29 demands on its website in the realms of education, physical and mental health, policy and workplaces.
Marches across Northeast Ohio included Downtown Cleveland, Lakewood and Madison. Marches also took place in Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton.