Photograph by Mattias de los Rios
For the past two weeks, the Berkeley High School (BHS) halls have been plastered with posters of silhouetted figures. On each face is written: “The Trump administration is trying to erase trans identity by narrowly defining gender as biological sex and removing anti-discrimination laws against trans and gender non-conforming people.” Below each face, students can write their name and how they identify. At the bottom of the page, “I AM REAL” is written in bold.
These posters are part of a movement run by the BHS Alliance of Gender Expansive Students (AGES) club in response to a memo released by the Trump administration. In the memo, the Department of Health and Human Services advocated for officially defining gender as “determined on a biological basis.” If this policy were to be implemented, sex would be narrowly defined in the United States as unchangeably male or female, depending on the gender originally specified on a person’s birth certificate.
“We wanted to make [the posters] to show that there are trans people everywhere and that we are real, but also to inform people about what’s going on, and kind of examine why its nonsense to erase someone’s Identity,” explained BHS Arts and Humanities Academy (AHA) junior Tacy Prins Woodlief, one of the four leaders of the club.
The memo caused an uproar in the transgender and non-binary community, and an outpouring of support from its allies. AGES club has been working around the clock to spread awareness to threats the Trump Administration poses on the trans community.
This is the first year that AGES club has officially existed at BHS. “We originally decided to [form the club] because we saw that trans students in AHA were doing really well.” said Prins Woodlief. “But we knew that that wasn’t the case for all small schools. We wanted to provide that kind of support and community to everyone.”