Trans youth hold their own joy-filled prom after teen excluded from graduation

A group of four transgender youth smiling in a photo, with one of them holding a sign that reads "trans kids have always existed."

Hundreds of trans youths have celebrated the first-ever US trans prom.

Trans youngsters from across America, aged between five and 20, joined together in Washington DC to hold the Trans Youth Prom on Monday (22 May).

The event was hastily scheduled in association with the American Civil Liberties Association (ACLU) after a Mississippi transgender student was forced to miss her graduation after being told to dress ‘like a boy’.

The student was reportedly told to adhere to the Harrison County school district’s male clothing policy despite her gender identity.

A legal challenge filed on behalf of the pupil – known only as L.B. – by ACLU attorney Linda Morris was rejected by a district judge in what was described as a “disappointing” ruling.

Members of the Washington Trans Youth Prom march together in protest of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
The prom was as much a celebration as it was a protest. (Getty)

Chase Strangio, a deputy director for transgender justice with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV project, told The Hill that the prom was a “needed disruption” from the sheer volume of negative press and legislation trans people in the US are subject to on a daily basis.

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“This is about trans joy, trans creativity, trans brilliance and trans futures,” he said. “What was immediately apparent to everyone was that this year was going to be so much different, and so much worse.

“We’re done going and saying the same thing to legislators over and over and spending our childhoods just begging to be seen.”

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Held at the National Mall in the US capital, the prom was attended by students from at least 17 different states.

A transgender prom attendee, wearing a blue dress, holds a lace umbrella up.
Students were free to be themselves during the garden prom. (Getty)

‘We can construct a better world’

Among them was L.B., who said she felt humiliated following the policy enforcement by Harrison Central School, but, she added, felt united by the prom.

“Together, one by one, state by state, vote by vote, we can construct a better world,” she said. “Transgender youth have always been here and, rest assured, we are here to stay.”

Others gave similar speeches about trans liberation while surrounded by flowers and support from the stylish crowd.

ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio during the trans prom.
ACLU attorney Chase Strangio, who helps to schedule the event, gave a powerful speech abou trans solidarity. (Getty)

Fifteen-year-old Daniel Trujillo, who helped organise the event, said the prom was a “celebration of affirming love and support” before commending everyone there for helping support “trans joy.”

He also hit out against Republican lawmakers in his home state of Arizona and across the US for attempting to restrict healthcare for trans youth.

“A lot of them have grandkids, I’m just like them,” he said. “I’m just a kid who likes to get his homework done, who likes to play the guitar, who likes to play with his friends.”

A group of pro-trans allies group together during the Trans Youth Prom.
Attendees involved activists, parents, and pro-LGBTQ+ supporters. (Getty)

So far, the ACLU has tracked more than 490 anti-LGBTQ+ bills proposed in the US that aim to mitigate LGBTQ+ rights through various means, such as banning gender-affirming care.

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Other strategies include preventing trans people from using public facilities that match their gender identity, suppressing LGBTQ+ topics in schools and banning forms of free speech or entertainment.

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