Living in Texas can be hard. I hate having to write emails like this but, since we live in Texas, we kind of know it's going to happen. People that we care about are under attack and I think it's vital that we make clear our support for trans youth and adults at Sun Dragon. In terms of its effect on people, it really doesn't matter that this suggested policy announcement isn't legally binding, as the governor cannot change law by memorandum. Nor does it matter that none of the licensed mental health provider organizations in Texas will follow this change. Whether it's legally binding or not, it's still an attack that labels people as undesirable and unwelcome and stokes fear and anxiety among many of our friends and students. Please know that you are always welcome at Sun Dragon.
Sun Dragon was originally created because Sensei Suzanne wanted to create a safe space for women to train in martial arts without the hazing, abuse, and exclusion that they often felt at other schools. Since then, we've tried to continue that tradition by making Sun Dragon a safe space for everyone to train and that unequivocally includes trans students.
We will always do our best to respect you and your child's wishes in terms of names and gender identity. We will make mistakes, but they will never be out of disrespect or disregard for how you wish to present yourself and be seen and heard. Ask Senpai Kirti how many times I've called her Senpai Nirmiti over the past few months and you'll know I'll make mistakes. But that's always my pledge to students whenever they inform me of how they'd like to be named or referenced in the dojo--I'll probably make mistakes but I promise I'll work hard to respect your choice and make sure you feel welcome at Sun Dragon.
In light of the recent policy announcement regarding gender-affirming care, we need to do more and I think that part of that is sharing organizations and resources that support our people in Texas. One of our students, Kanoa Arteaga, was kind enough to provide some good resources--you can find out more about the work that Kanoa does and read his story at Abundant Masculinities.
Transgender Education Network of Texas is a wide-ranging organization that educates, advocates, and supports the empowerment of our trans community in Texas. They work in both public and private forums.
Out Youth. We've introduced you to Out Youth before and I know that they've meant a lot over the years to our students, including Senpai Laura. They are local and provide all kinds of resources for youth, adults, and everyone.
Kanoa mentioned Chase Strangio's Instagram account as a wonderful resource for what's going on in Texas--he's a trans lawyer at the ACLU and he does frequent updates and goes live to answer questions.
And, of course, the ACLU and Lambda Legal are pressing the legal challenge in Travis County and are the go to organization if you need related legal support and other resources.
Finally, Kanoa was kind enough to offer his support to anyone who needs someone to talk to--he has a background in mental health and LGBTQ advocacy and if you'd like someone who will listen you can contact him via his website or we can guide you his way.
One of the most heartbreaking quotes I saw on Strangio's Instagram feed was "We are choosing to grieve the loss of our home instead of the loss of our child." What an awful thing to have to experience. Please know that you have a home at Sun Dragon and we will always do our best to make sure that you and your children are accepted and heard.