Trans girl, 11, leaves school board in silence with call for acceptance in powerful speech

A picture of two trans flags waving in an open area.

A young transgender student left her local school board stunned after sharing her story, in an attempt “make peace” with the anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric sweeping the US.

Eleven-year-old Allison took to the Jordan School District podium, in Utah, to tell her story in a pledge for “space” and “acceptance” as a trans girl.

Utah is one of many states across the US to have introduced anti-trans and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation this year.

In January, Republican governor Spencer Cox introduced a policy banning gender-affirming healthcare for trans people under the age of 18. Similar to those passed in Arkansas and Alabama, the move was labelled a “devastating and dangerous violation of the rights” of Utah residents by the American Civil Liberties Union LGBTQ & HIV Project.

Allison was introduced to the school district board by her dad, who said: “If you’ve known her her whole life, you know this is who she’s always been.”

Then came an emotional speech that left the entire school board in silence.

You may like to watch

“I am Allison and I wrote this in my free time. Hello fathers, daughters, mothers and everybody else who came here today with fear, anger and confusion,” she began.

“I came here not to fight, but to make peace. How am I going to do that? I’m going to tell a story – an autobiography, if you may.

“As far back as I can remember, I always chose dresses, makeup, wigs and dolls. My first Halloween costume was a zombie vampire bride. So weird, right? Who thinks of that?

“Well, I did. I remember the first dress I wore was a pretty white gown. When I wore it, it felt special, not like anything else. It was the best feeling. It felt like magic.

“When my loving mom first curled my hair and I looked in the mirror, I wanted to cry because I saw not the person I was supposed to be, but the person I am. Because when I imagine myself as a grown human, I see a woman dancing in a white dress through a meadow of flowers.

“And when I see that, I know that’s who I am. I just want the space and the acceptance to be me,” she added.

At the end of the speech, Allison’s dad also spoke about her experiences as a trans 11-year-old in the US.

“She’s experienced that, pretty much every day and she’s asked me ‘dad, how come it has to be this way’?” He said.

“Every day she has to defend herself, she has to stick up for herself.

“This is what courage looks like.”

A number of anti-trans bills have been passed in the US in the past year, including a national bill dubbed the Parental Bill of Rights which made it through to the senate in March.

If it becomes law, it would require US schools to effectively out transgender youth to their parents by requiring parental consent before changing gender markers. Schools would also be required to publish their curriculum and reading materials which could then be scrutinised by parents and guardians.

Those that do not abide by the requirements, would have their federal funding cut.

In April, Florida lawmakers voted to expand the state’s Don’t Say Gay law which further tightened restrictions on how schools teach LGBTQ+ topics.

The extension banned discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in public schools through to the eighth grade, up from third grade as outlined in earlier legislation. 

Please login or register to comment on this story.