In recognition for his advocacy work to allow transgender people to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity, Arkansas teen Lucas Segal won a trip to San Diego through the Students Taking Action with Recognition competition.
Segal’s work comes at a pivotal point for transgender youth across the country. Last month, HRC reported that an unprecedented 44 anti-transgender bills are being considered in 16 states, and the quantity of these harmful bills is as striking as their diversity: some undercut the ability of transgender people to access gender-affirming health care; some create state-sanctioned avenues of anti-transgender discrimination; and others deny transgender people access to bathrooms, locker rooms and athletic teams consistent with their gender identity. Twenty-three of these bills specifically target transgender youth.
Winning this honor is by no means an easy task. According to The Sentinel-Record, “Participants must demonstrate their knowledge, skills and ability to actively identify a local, state, national or global concern, research the topic, identify a target audience and potential partnership, form an action plan, and advocate for the issue in an effort to positively affect a policy or law.”
Segal, who began transitioning two years ago, is a junior at Lakeside High School in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
“Being transgender is not something that’s easy for us to do,” Segal said in an interview in HRC’s Winter 2015 Equality Magazine. “And it’s not easy to tell people about it because you’re scared, and you don’t know what they’ll think.”
In the past few weeks, we have seen that voices like Segal’s truly do make a difference. In February, several transgender youth met with South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard. The group urged him to veto HB 1008, an anti-transgender bill that sought to prevent transgender students in public schools from using facilities consistent with their gender identity. Several days later, Daugaard vetoed the bill.
HRC congratulates Segal on this incredible honor and thanks him for his hard work and dedication to the transgender community.