Readers React: Louisiana’s queer and trans youth, you are loved

June 26, 2023 4:40 pm
A student at Ben Franklin High School in New Orleans wears a mask with the transgender Pride flag painted on it Friday, March 31, 2023.

A student at Ben Franklin High School in New Orleans wears a mask with the transgender Pride flag painted on it Friday, March 31, 2023. Hundreds of students took part in a walkout event at the school to mark Transgender Day of Visibility. (Greg LaRose/Louisiana Illuminator)

You are loved, you are valued, and you are a sacred part of your community. You also represent the potential and beauty of this state.

The people who have come together to write this letter are adults who are overwhelmingly queer and/or trans. We’re writing to queer and trans youth across Louisiana because you are our community’s future and our promise of freedom. We are advocates who fight for all sorts of causes, parents who love their queer kids, trans people who started our transitions as children and adults, and allies.

We want you to know that every day during the legislative session we, and others, were there fighting for you — and there were so many of us. We still meet regularly. We are still fighting and we won’t stop.

We know that it’s been a difficult past few years, with the number of anti-LGBTQ bills that have been proposed around the country that overwhelmingly target your healthcare, education, presence, and lives. These bills are an extension of the same attacks on LGBTQ people that we have seen for decades.

These tactics aren’t new, and neither are we. We are birthed from a rich history, a legacy inherited from the trans and queer elders and ancestors who’ve laid a path for us in Alexandria, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Acadiana and other places across our state. The sponsors of these bills and the lawmakers that support them are fighting history, time, and truth. They’re wrong and we will win in the end. We’re gonna hold their feet to the fire. Whatever rights they take from us, we will not stop fighting until we take them back.

The burden placed upon you is unjust. We know this and it hurts our hearts. We want you to be able to focus on being a kid. We want you to be able to grow up into an adult that gets to do boring stuff and not worry about all this.

We see you fighting, even though you have so much other stuff that deserves your attention. We see you already making the sacrifices you shouldn’t have to make. Even if it is at times hard to see, know that you will always have a family in us and an important place in this world. We have your back no matter what.

For those of you who are struggling to find pride in yourselves, we see you. For those of you who are still blooming, we see you. It’s okay to be where you are. And who you are does not have to make sense to other people.

Your past, present, and future selves are special. You are beautiful. There is nothing wrong with you — there never was.

¡Fuerza y coraje! We love you, and thank you for being here.

LocALL Coalition

For more information on the LocALL Coalition, email [email protected].


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