© 2024 Louisville Public Media

Public Files:
89.3 WFPL · 90.5 WUOL-FM · 91.9 WFPK

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact info@lpm.org or call 502-814-6500
89.3 WFPL News | 90.5 WUOL Classical 91.9 WFPK Music | KyCIR Investigations
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stream: News Music Classical

Kentucky Fairness Campaign brings visibility to trans youth at Bowling Green event

Flickr
/
Torbakhopper

The Kentucky Fairness Campaign and ACLU of Kentucky hosted a town hall event Thursday evening aimed at bringing awareness and visibility to the trans community of Bowling Green and surrounding towns.

Over 100 LGBTQ+ advocates gathered in downtown Bowling Green to bring awareness to recent legislation that targets trans rights. At the event members of the Fairness Campaign, staff at the Graves Gilbert Clinic in Bowling Green, and local advocates discussed resources and treatment available to trans youth in need of care and support.

The Kentucky Fairness Campaign is an advocacy group working to advance LGBTQ+ civil rights and eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The event was in response to Senate Bill 150 which bans gender-affirming care for minors, does not require teachers to use a student’s requested pronouns, and changes how human sexuality is taught in schools. The bill has been called one of the worst anti-trans bills in the nation by LGBTQ+ advocates.

Staff from the Graves Gilbert Clinic in Bowling Green spoke about the ramifications of SB 150 on trans youth. The Graves Gilbert Clinic offers gender-affirming care, LGBTQ+ mental health services, HIV prevention including PrEP prescriptions, and traditional primary care for the LGBTQ community.

Dr. Craig Losekamp, a physician at the Graves Gilbert Clinic, said gender-affirming health care is critical for trans youth in Kentucky.

“We know gender-affirming care is crucial to overall health,” Losekamp said. “It's something to be recognized and appropriately dealt with. This is like being left-handed or right-handed, it's the way you are.”

According to a survey from The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization focused on suicide prevention among LGBTQ youths, 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. Research from the organization shows that gender-affirming care has been shown to reduce suicide ideation and attempts in transgender individuals.

The town hall was the third stop in a state campaign that comes after a national state of emergency for the LGBTQ+ community was declared by the Human Rights Campaign.

Serenity Johnson, an advocate for trans rights from Hardin County, said members of the trans community in rural parts of the state don’t always have the resources or support they need.

“When you’re in a larger school or larger setting your chance to run into another queer or trans youth is pretty high,” Johnson said. “Out in rural Kentucky, that’s not quite the case. Especially because a lot of those us who are trans or queer, we don't broadcast it as much because there is always that fear of backlash.”

Johnson said that increasing visibility and showing solidarity with members of the LGBTQ community can begin to create positive change for members who might feel isolated or left out.

“Visibility is a big thing and getting involved, it doesn't have to be politics or activism,” Johnson said. “Finding groups in your area that work with trans or queer youth and finding ways you can help and just reaching out to support groups even if it's just a little bit of time once a month.”

Alexander Griggs, a trans rights advocate from Louisville, said support from the event was overwhelming and hopes members of the LGBTQ community know they are not alone.

“When we were going up there was very little visibility in the media in movies and what we did see was usually negative," Griggs said. “It's been very heartwarming and positive to see all these trans adults coming out in solidarity with these trans kids letting them see we’re not only standing with them but fighting for them.”

The Kentucky Health Justice Network offers direct services, education, and advocacy for trans Kentuckians to find support if they are in need.

Copyright 2023 WKU Public Radio. To see more, visit WKU Public Radio.

Jacob Martin