The Richmond Marathon is still a few days away and there’s a small chance I’m also going to run the Rehoboth Beach Marathon in three weeks as well, but I’m already thinking about my spring marathon. I don’t know yet what the race will be, but I’m hoping to qualify for Boston there. Maybe I’ll keep it at home and run the New Jersey Marathon? We’ll see. Regardless of which race I run, I had already decided I wanted to run for a cause bigger than myself and bigger than qualifying for Boston. I was already pretty set on running to raise money for a trans rights organization, but I wasn’t sure which one yet or how to go about it.
Then…it happened. Privacy for All Students announced they have enough signatures to put a repeal of California’s School Success and Opportunity Act (AB1266) on the ballot in 2014. For those unfamiliar with the School Success and Opportunity Act, it mandates that transgender students be included in the school activities for their identified gender and not their assigned (at birth) sex. It also protects their right to use appropriate facilities. This bill makes California the first state to enact such a law, but it cannot be overstated just how important AB1266 is for trans youth and as a step forward for all trans people.
It is not surprising that there has been conservative opposition to this law and the next year will be a long and bitter fight to educate California voters against the lies spread in the name of repealing this law. Just take a look at the Pacific Justice Institute’s disgusting video targeting a 16-year-old trans girl in Colorado and using her as the face of their smear campaign. With many conservative and anti-gay groups starting to accept defeat on stopping marriage equality, they are now turning towards trans people and, more specifically, transgender youth. We are their next target and it’s going to be ugly. Very, very ugly.
This will be an all-hands-on-deck fight. The transgender community will need the help of every LGBT organization and every ally we have. In the coming year, I will be calling on everyone I know to speak up against the transphobia, hate, and fear-mongering that will undoubtedly blanket much of California and the nation in this fight. I’ll ask for you to educate those around you and to fight alongside the trans community. Please read this for an excellent primer on how to respond regarding trans women using the women’s room and hit up my resource list for a ton more information.
Now, to get back to my spring marathon, I have decided I will run whatever race it is I decide on in support of the transgender youth in California who need this law to stay in place. I will start a fundraising campaign to raise money for the fight. At this point it remains to be seen just who will be leading this fight, but I imagine that the organizations like Transgender Law Center and National Center for Transgender Equality will be at the center of it. Regardless, I hope to use my running as a way to support my community and the trans youth in California.
While it’s still early, I don’t yet know what race I’m running or exactly who the money will go to, I am writing about this now to hold myself accountable for making this happen. Once I figure both of these out, you will be hearing much more about this. Even if I only raise a few hundred dollars (I’m hoping for a couple thousand though), this will happen. And we will win this fight!