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Dozens gather to demand protections for transgender youth at State Capitol

Young people gather at the Michigan State Capitol with protest signs decrying anti-trans violence. Many are carrying PRIDE and trans flags.
Michelle Jokisch Polo
Young people participate in a rally held at the state Capitol to demand actions from lawmakers.

Friday is International Trans Day of Visibility, an annual event that celebrates transgender people and raises awareness about the discrimination they face. It was created by Michigander Rachel Crandall Crocker in 2009.

Across the country, trans and queer youth are protesting legislative efforts attempting to prevent trans people from being legally recognized and from receiving gender-affirming care.

In Lansing, dozens of young people carrying pride flags and signs decrying anti-trans violence gathered at the Capitol lawn. Twenty-year-old Lansing resident Cameron Carmichael organized the protest.

Cameron Carmichael, a white skin non-binary person, stands behind a podium at the steps of the Michigan State capitol. They are are white and are wearing a blue bandana on their head. They are also wearing glasses.
Michelle Jokisch Polo
Cameron Carmichael

“I have hopes that there will be protections for trans kids," they said. "I was transgender in high school, I know what they're going through. I know the pain. And I just hope that they can be protected in any single way."

The protest was part of a nationwide action organized by Queer Youth Assemble, a youth-led nonprofit aimed at bringing joy and autonomy to the queer and trans community.

Carmichael said they want Michigan legislators to pass laws to ensure school policies affirm students’ rights to be free from discrimination based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.

"We need laws and legislation to protect those kids and make it easier for them to be themselves," they said.

In Michigan, two anti-trans bills have been introduced this session. One would prevent trans kids from accessing school bathrooms that align with their gender identity. The other would classify gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth as child abuse.

It is unlikely either would pass under the Democratic-controlled legislature.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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