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Philly students ditch classes, demand PA become sanctuary state for transgender folk

Transgender people ‘are afraid to go on family vacations […] for fear they might not come back’

Last week, more than 100 students and a few teachers walked out of their Philadelphia schools and began a march towards City Hall, all in the name of transgender rights.

The lead organizer of the walkout, Central High School transgender swimmer Wes Allen, said a catalyst for the event was him  witnessing what University of Pennsylvania swimmer Lia Thomas went through, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Like Thomas recently, Allen said he isn’t “going to let transphobia take away” what he enjoys.

According to Allen, he and fellow trans students “are afraid to go on family vacations to overtly transphobic states for fear they might not come back.”

(The Inquirer’s Nate File notes that Thomas’s appearance as a trans female swimmer “caused an uproar,” brought in people “not typically concerned with transgender issues” with “force,” and was “buoyed mostly by hurtful rhetoric.” He also says conservatives have passed “overtly anti-trans legislation” over the last few years and that “trans youth have become the fixation of right wing media and stand-up comedians.”)

MORE: JMU debate team refuses to debate transgender ideology

The protesters made the following demands of legislators and the School District of Philadelphia, which they claimed “aren’t much”:

— Opposition to a trio of House bills which “expand a person’s ability to sue after receiving gender-affirming treatment,” prohibit transgender female athletes from participating on women’s teams at public schools and colleges, and restrict (public school) education “concerning sexual orientation and gender identity.”

— A “reallocation” of funding in city schools for staff training on “gender diversity” and to “create more gender-neutral facilities, such as restrooms and locker rooms.”

— That Governor Josh Shapiro (pictured) declare Pennsylvania a “sanctuary state” for transgender individuals meaning, among other things, no restrictions on “gender-affirming care.”

The first piece of legislation mentioned was proposed by GOP State Representative Paul Schemel due to “questions concerning both the long-term impact of chemical and surgical treatments falling under the general category of affirmation therapy and the adequacy of consent for such treatments by minor patients.”

“The sole intent of [the] legislation,” the bill reads, “is to provide affected individuals additional time to bring a claim after they have reached the age of majority.”

MORE: Penn State student government funds name changes for transgender students

IMAGE: Justin Henry/Flickr.com; StateScoop/Twitter screencap

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