Thank you to everyone who filled out my survey. Your insight has been extremely helpful to figure out the best way to support transgender and gender non-conforming people at the FIRST World Championship. It really means a lot to me to have gotten this many responses so far and kind words inside of the survey. A reminder that you can fill out the survey here if you still haven’t already. Having this data is extremely useful to plan out my advocacy and everything like that.
Having said this, I have gone through all of the data that I have gotten from the survey so far and these are the ways that people have told me we can help transgender and gender non-conforming people be safe and feel safe at the FIRST World Championship.
How to Support LGBTQ+ at the FIRST World Championship
Have your team hang up transgender and LGBTQ+ pride flags inside their pit.
This is an easy and low-cost idea that allows people to show their support for LGBTQ+ and transgender people. Show FIRST that we are here, we are queer and we are going to be vocal about it. Even if you don’t have LGBTQ+ people who are out on your team, still hang those flags high to show that your team is an ally to the LGBTQ+ community.
Keep a resource list for transgender and gender non-conforming students (I have one from the LGBTQ+ of FIRST that is linked below) on hand.
Having this would allow anyone who is questioning their identity to get resources on all of it on top of resources for transgender and GnC individuals who may need support because their parents aren’t supportive. Here is a link to the Google sheet that has everything from crisis hotlines to questioning your identity: [Link]
Promote wearing pronoun badges as normality.
Show that pronouns are something we should care about because they can affect a person’s mental health if they are called by the correct pronouns. Have people on your teams wear them, they should be given out by pit admin at Champs. (This does not mean to out people. If people don’t want to be outed, don’t force them to be out or to come out.)
Hang signs up within your teams’ pit saying that discrimination of any kind is prohibited and/or that their pit is a safe space for all LGBTQ+ people.
Show that your team is committed to making sure that FIRST is a safe and welcoming environment for all, even in hostile states like Texas. Having these signs up says that your team is inclusive of LGBTQ+ identities and that your team will continue to make sure that any LGBTQ+ person can be themselves on the team or even if they are talking to your team.
Continue putting pressure on FIRST via letter drafting and email writing.
Show FIRST that this isn’t a small minority of people that are going to lay down and give up, and that we will continue to fight until transgender and GnC students are safe at the FIRST World Championship.
Spread the Google Form.
The more information and survey answers I get, the better I can understand how we can support LGBTQ+ students, mentors, alumni, and volunteers. We as a community must stand together to support our LGBTQ+ FIRST Community, hear their voices and concerns about FIRST World Championship, and, learn how to support them and make them safe at the FIRST World Championship.
Final Words and Wrap Up
Now on top of all of this, I now own the website https://first.lgbt/. This website contains all of my blog posts including a summary on the current state of Texas with the anti-transgender and anti-LGBTQ+ bills and laws they have in their state. I also have a post with all the ways teams can help transgender and gender non-conforming people feel safe at Champs. I will be actively updating that blog post and also this thread on any other information and insight I receive from new responses to the survey.
the website also contains multiple links including a link to LGBTQ+ crisis resources, LGBTQ+ resources, a link to the survey and, a link to the LGBTQ+ of FIRST organization website. The website is still undergoing active changes so do be mindful if any spelling is wrong or anything like that (I am 1 person maintaining this website at the moment).
Thank you so much to everyone who has made this advocacy a reality and to everyone who has expressed support for this movement, the amount of nice comments I’ve gotten has made me happy cry a lot this week knowing that I am making an impact bigger than me. If anyone has any questions or anything like that, shoot me a DM on here and I will answer them as fast as I can.
– Nova Rudy (Your Local Themby of Chaos)