Transgender Rights and Safety In and Out of Rocky


Finn Moore

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“Transgenderism must be eradicated,” Michael Knowles, a political commentator, and media host said at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on March 4th, 2023. What did he mean by this?

“There can be no middle way in dealing with Transgenderism. It is all or nothing,” Knowles stated. News sites and citizens alike had much to say about this comment. 

“Had he said ‘Judaism must be eradicated,’ or proclaimed an ‘all or nothing’ situation for homosexuality, nobody would mistake the murderous intent of such a message,” The Los Angeles Times stated in an article covering Knowles’s statements. 

“For the record, trans people have existed throughout history in every culture, which has been exhaustively documented. By turning trans existence into an ‘ism’, conservatives are attempting to misrepresent a struggle for equality as a culture war,” according to the LA Times

Other states have recently been taking action on laws against trans people. Around 16 states have an overall high tolerance of transgender people and gender identity, including Colorado. Around 22 states have a low or negative tolerance, according to the Movement Advancement Project. Across the United States, 26 states have introduced bills that ban gender-affirming care for youth under 8. This includes banning surgery and puberty blockers for these individuals, according to Newsweek. These bills are essentially bills that will force trans youth to “detransition,” according to Newsweek. Many are calling this a trans genocide.

This isn’t a problem that is unique to the United States. Many countries in Africa have laws that outlaw same-sex relationships, and many countries in the Middle East, or Southwest Asia, have laws that criminalize gender expression, according to Human Rights Watch.

Another threat to transgender individuals and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole is conversion therapy camps for minors. According to the Movement Advancement Project, 20 states+D.C. have banned conversion therapy, including Colorado. In 21 states, there is no law or policy against conversion therapy. 

“The need to protect all regardless of ‘disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, marital status, national origin, or ancestry’,” The Colorado Department of Education said in reference to the Colorado anti-discrimination law, last updated February 14th, 2023. This law protects minorities and LGBTQ+ people in Colorado. Colorado has no punitive laws when it comes to exposing children to the knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community at school, at home, or in public, according to the Movement Advancement Project. 

At Rocky, there are resources for any LGBTQ+ students who may need them. The Gay and Sexuality Alliance club, or GSA, is one of them. Some students believe Rocky is a mostly safe place for trans students and staff. 

“In certain places, yeah,” sophomore student and GSA member Echo Peterson stated. 

Other students disagree. “No, Jesus, man, so many people are transphobic here,” Jax Klein stated.  

Why is it important for transgender as well as other LGBTQ+ student to be safe at school? 

“So we don’t go home with bruises,” Peterson explained. 

“I think it’s important for every student to be safe at school, but you know that’s not really going to happen,” Klein added. 

Colorado is a safe place for transgender individuals–at least for now. Rocky remains a place where students are offered and can get support from staff, students, and family. Other communities and families with LGBTQ+ members are not so lucky. When will this end?