Fourteen-year-old Eli’s pull-no-punches story of being bullied as a transgender boy entering high school leads to a conversation about homophobia and transphobia among boys. Joined by Lori Duron from Raising My Rainbow, two Canadian teachers trained in LGBTQ-inclusive education, and CJ Pascoe, a youth-focused researcher and writer. Conceived as part of Trans Day of Visibility.
When I think of resilience, I think of Eli. On the outside, he’s as cut and as worn as you can imagine, but at his core is a dogged spirit that has withstood countless attacks on his gender, body and identity. He faces transphobia with bitter resolve. He’s like a war survivor who’s repeatedly been sent back to the front lines.
One of Eli’s front lines has always been school, in particular physical education classes and spaces defined by youth culture, where he either has to fight to have his gender identity recognized or he has to be on guard against homophobia- or transphobia-based violence. He tries hard to protect himself, but sometimes he doesn’t make it.
His story is all too familiar. Nearly all LGBTQ youth have faced discrimination based on their gender or sexual orientation. Sometimes it’s outright physical violence. Sometimes it’s more implicit.
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Lori Duron writes a blog called Raising My Rainbow. You can also follow her and her son on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Alissa and Victoria were representatives of SOGI 1 2 3, an initiative based in western Canada. The website has LGBTQ-focused resources for both parents and educators. If you’re looking for more resources I recommend Gender Spectrum’s Gender Inclusive Schools Toolkit, Human Rights Campaign’s Schools In Transition and Welcoming Schools programs, as well as GLSEN and The Trevor Project.
UBC News, Gay-straight alliances in schools reduce suicide risk for all students →
CJ Pascoe, Homophobia in Boys’ Friendships →
CJ Pascoe, Dude, You’re a Fag →
Stephen Frosh, Young Masculinities →
Debbie Epstein, Boyz’ Own Stories: Masculinities and sexualities in schools →
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