Ali Wicks-Lim: A message for Amherst’s trans and queer youth


Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Dear Trans and Queer Youth of the Amherst Regional Public Schools,

This might feel like a hard time to be who you are. This is exactly the right time to be who you are. It is always exactly the right time to be who you are.

You are not the problem. And you are not responsible for the solution, though you will be a powerful force in the work it takes to get there. You already are a powerful force, you are changing the world just by being unapologetically who you are.

This is a time to pay close attention to what is happening around you. Can you see the sign-holders, the chalk-taggers, the rainbow pins and ribbons? Can you hear the voices of the people showing up at School Committee meetings, demanding better for you? You have our attention. Many of us have our own lived experience as trans or queer people. We want you to know we are here, fighting with and for you, for the schools you deserve.

Pay attention to who shows up for you in these moments. You are learning how to find your allies, this is a skill you will need for the rest of your lives. You have so many allies; the ones you can see at intersections and in hallways, but also the ones at home, writing letters and making phone calls and quietly, steadily showing up for you.

Also pay attention to those whose words or actions feel wrong. When a person or place feels unhealthy, believe that feeling and tell someone you trust about it. Some of you have already been betrayed by people you trusted. Please don’t let that stop you from telling your story and finding the right people to hear it.

Trust your gut. There will always be people who will work to silence your voices, people want conversations about you to happen behind closed doors, people who question your truth because it is just too uncomfortable for them to believe it. Don’t waste your energy on those people, go around them, look past them, find your people. You will need them.

Trans and queer youth, this is a difficult moment but you are learning who will join you in your difficult moments and together we will make things better. You are beautiful and wise and important, and not alone. You are part of a strong and resilient LGBTQ+ community and we have your back. I hope you can see and feel that. May it bring you strength.

Ali Wicks-Lim