For support, call Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or The Trevor Project at 866-488-7386; or text to 678-678.
Josie had put off packing long enough. The high school sophomore in St. Augustine, Florida, sat on her bed while her mom, Sarah, pulled clothes from her closet.
It held a trove of good memories — like the red dress Josie wore to the winter homecoming dance and a pink cover-up she sported at a friend’s pool party. Good times like these have felt scarce lately. Josie, who’s transgender, no longer feels welcome in Florida.
Her family requested they be identified by their first names only, fearing retaliation in a state where Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and other officials have proposed, politicized, and passed policies in health care and education that limit identity expression, access to certain school activities, and accommodations for trans people.
The ACLU is tracking bills it calls an “attack on LGBTQ rights, especially transgender youth.” State legislation has forced some residents like Josie to rethink where they want to call home.
Josie moved more than a thousand miles from St. Augustine — and her parents — to start a new life in Rhode Island and stay with her aunt and uncle, who live outside Providence.
Preparing her for the move, Josie’s mom held up outfits and asked, “Staying or going?”
The formal dress could stay behind. Cardigans and overalls went in the suitcase …
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