Having a group of peers that I could relate my experience to was very special and welcoming. Rainbow Community Center made it easy to find that community through its various programs and services. My quality of life is significantly better because of my Rainbow community.
This need for community extends to all ages, from our youngest children to our oldest elders. That’s why it warmed my heart last year when Rainbow held its first youth summer camp, Camp FIERCE. I heard stories about how impactful this camp was for transgender and gender nonconforming children, being surrounded by others like them. The ability to dance, sing and play with others fully present as your authentic self is life-changing for many of these kids.
In many states across the nation, new legislation is criminalizing gender-affirming care for children. These cruel laws do not stop transgender people from being themselves, it only forces them to hide their identities.
This hiding makes it very difficult to find community. It makes me sad and angry that transgender people across America cannot be in community in the same way I am.
Despite these injustices, hope persists.
An important piece of legislation taking effect this year is Senate Bill 107, which protects children receiving gender-affirming care in California. One aspect that is particularly noteworthy is how the law prevents health-care providers in California from releasing information related to gender-affirming care in response to subpoenas from other states. This law is crucial for families fleeing the injustices imposed upon transgender children and their families across the country.
I am incredibly grateful to live in a state that supports people like me. This support is needed for all of us to find community, and for a place like Rainbow to exist.
These laws also establish models for other states to follow, so more places can be welcoming for people like me. Other states are already considering laws similar to California.
As Rainbow gears up for its second youth camp this summer, it gives me hope that our young people have a place to be affirmed and be in a community. It also reminds me that more work needs to be done so that children all across the country are able to have the same opportunities.
Until that work is complete, I know Rainbow is committed to ensuring our children have the support and community they need to thrive throughout their youth into adulthood.
For camp registration, visit www.tinyurl.com/RCCcampfierce. To request financial support for Camp FIERCE, go to www.bit.ly/campfiercescholarship. Learn more about all of Rainbow Community Center’s events, programs and services at www.rainbowcc.org.
Robyn Kuslits is a genderqueer transwoman who serves as board president of Rainbow Community Center. She loves local politics, trail running and her adorable cat Duke. Contact her at email@example.com.