In addition to the anti-queer and anti-trans legislation, on March 17th in Los Angeles, 26-year-old Rayanna Pardo, a transgender woman, was violently killed. Our center is deeply saddened by this tragedy and by the continued violence towards trans and nonbinary people, and especially trans Women of Color. Violence against trans people, and especially Black trans women, often goes unreported, misreported, or lacks investigation. We are aware of 12 lives that have been tragically lost this year, and we mourn the lives of all trans and nonbinary people who have been tragically killed.
Our center firmly believes in the fundamental need to create schools that are free from all forms of hate, in order to maintain schools where all students can safely access the education they deserve. There is clear evidence to demonstrate that LGBTQ+ youth experience high rates of suicidality, depression, stress, and anxiety. Surveyed LGBTQ+ students also reported experiencing frequent discrimination, physical and verbal harassment, and distress at school. However, research consistently shows that affirming spaces, safe schools, and caring adults can have a positive impact on the lives LGBTQ+ youth.
The UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools recognizes the need and the urgency for schools to be inclusive spaces for all queer and trans youth. We strongly believe that schools play an integral role in advancing movements towards equity and justice for all people. In light of current and ongoing anti-trans and anti-queer attacks, we firmly recommit to our mission of advancing justice, and we strongly condemn the recent violent and legislative attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, and specifically the attacks on trans and nonbinary people. We encourage all educators to condemn all forms of transphobia and queerphobia, and to stand in unwavering support of all queer and transgender people.