Community Reading of Children’s Book “I Am Jazz”


Creating welcoming spaces for transgender and gender-expansive children and youth can start with something as simple as a conversation — between colleagues or neighbors, among educators in the teacher’s lounge, in classrooms and hallways, or in more formal settings like a community forum or schoolwide assembly. We know there’s a hesitancy sometimes to address transgender themes in schools, but it’s important to note that the U.S. Department of Education supports the rights of transgender children and youth across the country.

What is important is making sure that these conversations happen in safe and productive ways. Please join us for a public reading of the book “I Am Jazz,” the true story of transgender teen ambassador Jazz Jennings. This reading is open to everyone in the Kansas City metro area and will be followed by a time for respectful questions and answers.

Readings are being organized across the country, inspired by the Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, community who came together for a public reading of the book after an anti-LGBT group threatened to sue the local school for its plan to share the book in support of a young transgender student.

We invite you to come with an open mind to hear Jazz’s story and to ask questions you have about transgender youth and how they are being supported in and around Kansas City.


Event Details:

Thursday, January 14th, 7-8pm

Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ

205 W 65th St, Kansas City, Missouri 64113


RSVP for the event on the Facebook page!

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Missouri bill would restrict locker room use by transgender students

Because the war on marriage equality is over (for the most part…there are still a few holdout judges in Southern states trying to be difficult), anti-LGBT groups are now focused on peeing. Yes, peeing. Because that’s what people do in restrooms.

Missouri is now on the list of states with new legislation being introduced to ban transgender people from using restrooms that match their gender identity and/or legislation specifically targeting trans students because of locker rooms.

During the 2016 legislative session, Missouri lawmakers are likely to debate a bill that would bar transgender students from public school restrooms and other facilities designed for the gender with which they identify. If passed and implemented, the measure could potentially violate federal law under Title IX.

The issue caught the spotlight this year after students in Hillsboro staged a walkout when a transgender student named Lila Perry used the girls’ locker room and bathrooms. The ensuing debate led some schools to revisit their policies, said Brent Ghan, the chief of staff for the Missouri School Boards’ Association.

“The law remains very unsettled on this issue,” Ghan wrote in an e-mail. “It is up to local boards of education to adopt the policy that best fits the needs of their district and community.”

Under the proposed measure, the students would be required to use locker rooms and bathrooms for their biological sex, or they could use alternative accommodations like unisex or faculty restrooms. Use of an alternative restroom, however, would require the written consent of the student’s legal guardian.

“You know there was a time not too many years ago, when, if a young man claimed he thought he was a young lady, or vice versa if a young lady thought he was a young man, we would get them counseling,” said Sen. Ed Emery, R-Lamar, who sponsored the Senate version of the bill.

[Editorial note:  Newsflash Senator…trans kids as you describe DO get counseling. And that counseling supports transition as the healthiest form of treatment.]

Emery said he proposed the measure because concerned parents had contacted him. He rejects the idea that the policy is discriminatory, comparing it to height requirements on roller coasters and age requirements in kindergartens.

“If you had a daughter, you might not feel that she was completely safe if young men were allowed into her shower room, and vice versa,” Emery said. “I don’t think you can protect one in preference over another.”

Morgan Keenan, who directs Missouri’s network of Gay-Straight Alliances for students, said the proposal creates a system where transgender men and women are unsafe.

“It says that we don’t value these women, and that we don’t think they’re worth having around, and we think that we can legislate and control where they go to the bathroom,” Keenan said.

Keenan said he will help organize opposition against this bill and other anti-LGBT measures in the statehouse this spring.

“There are trans students going to locker rooms and bathrooms across the state, and they’ve been doing it for a long time and there hasn’t been any safety concerns. What we’re afraid of is the things we don’t know,” Keenan said.

According to an opinion released by the U.S. Department of Justice, transgender students have a right to use restrooms and locker rooms that are associated with their gender identity. However, the Missouri School Boards’ Association released two proposed policy guides to local boards of education — one permits transgender students to use group restrooms as they wish, and another that forbids it.

“Realistically, the district is more likely to be investigated by the OCR and the DOJ for failing to accommodate a transgender student than to be successfully sued for providing the accommodation,” the policies read.

“Further, research shows that transgender students are in particular need of support since they are less likely to graduate, more likely to be bullied, and have high rates of depression and suicide.”

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Kansas City Calls for Action after Trans Woman’s Murder

“The Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, Una Lucha KC, The Justice Project and One Struggle KC call for action and healing in response to the murder of Tamara Dominguez, a transgender Latina woman, in Kansas City, Missouri. She is the 17th reported homicide of a transgender woman killed since January 1, 2015, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP).

Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, Una Lucha KC, The Justice Project and One Struggle KC were devastated to learn of Tamara Dominguez’s tragic death on August 17, 2015. Tamara was intentionally run over three times by a large vehicle, sending a threatening, direct message of hate towards other trans-women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) [email protected] communities in Kansas City. Our organizations are working collectively together to help support and advocate with Tamara’s chosen family and friends.

“Our hearts are heavy with grief that another member of our community was taken too soon. We lift up Tamara’s family, friends and the entire transgender and LGBQ communities in love and support through these difficult times.”


Read the rest of the statement from Randall Jenson of the KCAVP here.

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Our Trans Loved Ones: Q&A Resource from PFLAG

The conversation about people who are transgender was just taken to a whole new level of engagement and interest with the unveiling of Caitlyn Jenner on Vanity Fair. There are more questions being asked, more people interested in educating themselves, and as always, PFLAG is a valued resource for answers!

Today, we’re proud to announce the formal release of our newest publication, Our Trans Loved Ones: Questions and Answers for Parents, Families, and Friends of People Who Are Transgender And Gender Expansive.

Based on its well-loved and popular predecessor, Welcoming Our Trans Family and Friends, Our Trans Loved Ones is a brand-new, updated resource. Written by PFLAG staff members, and created with the help of dozens of content experts, reviewers, and family members and friends with experience to share, it is chock full of information, first-person stories, expert input, and more, all geared to those who have a close family member or friend — of any age— who has come out as trans or gender expansive.

The new publication and comprehensive web resources (available at address frequently asked questions and are also divided into sections specific to three age ranges; Childhood, Adolescence, and Adulthood. This gives readers easy and immediate access to information they need based on their own circumstances, along with a full section of Frequently Asked Questions for people of all ages.

Just as Our Trans Loved Ones is geared to families and friends, we also have answers for allies! Our other invaluable publication from our Straight for Equality® project, guide to being a trans ally, applies the philosophy of the project — to invite, educate, and engage allies — to a topic that has been key to PFLAG’s work for years: inclusion for people who are transgender.

So visit for an interactive, electronic copy of Our Trans Loved Ones or for your electronic copy of guide to being a straight ally. (And don’t forget the comprehensive resources on both pages!)


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