Trans students and mentors are not safe at FIRST Championship

All the more reason to boycott.


Unfortunately, that’s a Texas problem. I’ve spent a lot of time there and enjoyed it, but they continue to elect people hostile to others to their representation. I don’t believe they represent ALL of Texas, but they do represent them.

If nothing else, hopefully this thread will have the younger generations reading and deciding that voting every chance they get is important.


As a Texan, I am embarrassed and saddened by what my governor has done (on this and several other occasions). While I can confirm that he does not represent the values of many I know, the truth is that this is not a friendly state for minorities and I would personally implore FIRST to look elsewhere for an event, even if it would mean giving up my own ability to go.


If first doesn’t change venues, (which unfortunately I doubt they will if for no other reason than being this late in the game) I think an important question is what we can do as mentors and as a community to ensure students safety and ensure students FEEL safe at this or any event?

Will a student be at risk or feel at risk of being harassed physically, verbally, or otherwise inside the venue or outside the venue? I’d sincerely hope not at least inside. Outside the venue including travel what team rules/practices can teams follow to ensure everyone is safe and comfortable?

If teams can’t ensure that every student is safe and feels safe at an event then unfortunately I don’t think they should attend. I hate even phrasing it this way because it should start with the organization and the venues that everyone feels safe and included as a given.

And more importantly than championships I’m concerned for any trans students and those who support them in Texas right now. If a student is on a Texas team with mentors/educators willing to follow this order then first championship in Houston is probably no safer than anywhere else in Texas. If anything I’d hope with the first community it would more safe that your average public space/event.


Here is a direct reply from the Harris County Attorney about Gov Abbot’s and AG Ken Paxton’s political stunts. Houston and Harris county are blue and for the most part much different from what you hear coming out of state government

It is not law, but a lot of people will not know this the way things have been written.


Does the county level policy override the executive order from the state?

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I don’t have anything definitive on County vs State, but here is a response from the National Association of Social Workers of Texas

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These things don’t really “override” one another. It’s a matter of enforcement. The Harris County Attorney is basically saying they won’t enforce the State AG’s AGO (Attorney General’s Opinion - which isn’t a law itself either, but rather an interpretation of the law). Governor Abbott issued an executive order to make them enforce the AG’s interpretation of the law, but Harris County is the one that provides the lawyers in the cases in their county.

The best other parallel I can think of is the concept of “sanctuary cities” when it comes to immigration. Federal enforcement acted one way while local enforcement refused to cooperate. Neither “overrode” the other, just different jurisdictions acting in different fashions.


NOTE: I’m not commenting on anything other than the quoted statement above.

Nope, sorry. Ignorance of the law is no excuse for not following it. This goes for any law in any jurisdiction. It goes by where you are, not where you’re from. But you may have to also follow the law from where you’re from: Depends on how your law is written.

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Based on my experience, that number is much greater than your estimate. As I’m approaching 60, I know WAY more people over 30 than under 30. I know two transgender persons over 30 through all of my high school, college, professional, and personal contacts, and at least four under 30, through church, my children’s friends, and six years of mentoring a mid-size team. I’m not counting rumors or suspicions, just credible statements from the person directly, or from someone I trust both to be honest and not transphobic.


The “safety” of persons attending an event in Texas isn’t in any way affected by the politics there. Let’s keep FIRST about science and drop the politics.


For what it’s worth, a better choice of words here might be “I know two transgender people” and “transphobic”. The former is preferred simply because it maintains a connection to the fact that trans folks are, in fact, people. The latter is just a more common usage.

It may seem silly, but obfuscating the humanity of the people involved in these discussions is a common tactic for getting people to stomach maltreatment.




Are the people in your sphere required to report this status to you or people you trust that are not transphobic? Is there any chance that maybe they haven’t confided in you or people you might trust? Do you think that they might be afraid of saying something?

I don’t honestly know the number of trans people I have met in my lifetime but I know that I can’t tell by looking at them and I have no reason to ask them to out themselves to me.


Both adjusted.


Making some polls to return to the main topics.

Should FIRST move the 2022 championship?
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

[LGBTQIA+ FIRSTers only please] On a scale of 0-10, with zero being totally unsafe and 10 being totally safe, how comfortable would you be attending a championship event in Houston?
  • 0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10

0 voters


One of the persons is the parent of a transgender individual, whom I trust implicitly. This [parent] individual posted a pride flag on a social media page in support of the child, to his/her professional adversity. The other three are through my own children, all of whom are totally OK with transgender persons; THEY helped ME get to accepting transgender persons.



Still happens today. I was just told to quiet my opinion down because of my sexuality yesterday by a fellow student at Texas Tech. I’ll leave them nameless.

This. As someone who lives in Texas (believe me, I’m trying to get out), I’m tired of people saying “Texas is bad” or “people from Texas are bad” or “how can the people from Texas let Gov. Abbott do this?”

News flash: We aren’t. Texas is gerrymandered to remain in strict Republican control until a vast blue majority comes in.

False. See above. In response to @beckz0rz 's poll, I put a 6 because I live here, I know that Houston is much safer than the rest of the state (except maybe Austin). I know that sounds hard to believe (how can a city be safe? what about crime? traffic?), but trust me, when it comes to anything related to LGBTQ+ issues, cities are safe.

To address the CD community:
Stop putting all of us Texans in a box. You want us to fix what’s happening here? Help us instead of shoving us in as one big group. Every single time I see one of y’all say “this represents what the majority of Texas wants” without looking into the EXTREME gerrymandering that ensures a red chokehold on the state, the ridiculous measures being put into place to prevent minorities from voting (that somehow aren’t being struck down by the supreme court), attempts to ban life-saving medical procedures that usually more negatively impact minority and/or blue-voting communities, etc.
Stop lumping us all in a box.


It’s discouraging to watch the average response rating for the second poll drop in real-time, especially given that I voted ‘8’ as an adult whose been to Texas numerous times, in addition to lots of other places with a reputation for unfavorable treatment of LGBTQ+ people.

What can mentors, volunteers and teammates do to help students feel safer?


As much as I would love to ignore politics and focus solely on science, many scientific issues have unfortunately become political in recent years. In this particular instance, the Texas government is choosing to ignore the science in favor of attacking people whose lives they disagree with. Even if I were in good enough health and had money to allocate to traveling, I do not feel that I would be safe traveling to Texas. I was trepidatious about the prospect of traveling to Texas previously, but now that the governor has chosen to actively threaten people like me and those who support us, I feel that traveling to Texas could put me in danger. My identity, my ability to exist as I see fit, should not be a political issue, but it is, and to this end, I politely request that you try to understand that trans people are not just a political debate; we are people, and people like Governor Abbot believe that treating us like people is “abuse”. Please try to understand that my safety is absolutely affected by politics; people try to strip me of my rights yearly. That being said, I bear no ill will towards you, and I believe that you are simply not aware of the full extent of the issues. If you would like to know more about science backing trans rights, here’s a link to a YouTube video addressing the topic (and more) with a list of over 200 sources at the end. I apologize for my long-windedness, but this is an important issue, and the more you (and everybody else) knows about it, the more quickly we can move towards allowing all transgender people everywhere access to the resources they need to feel comfortable as themselves.