Alpine Academy Students Participate in Transgender Day of Visibility March
A group of Alpine Academy students attended a Transgender Day of Visibility event held at the Utah State Capitol on March 31st. The students made signs, marched with those gathered, and attended a rally. Nearly 30% of Alpine Academy students identify as transgender or non-binary. They are a vibrant and important part of the community on both campuses.
Transgender Day of Visibility was created in 2010 by trans activist Rachel Crandall. It is a day to celebrate the existence, resilience, and accomplishments of transgender people everywhere.
The students participated to show their support of the transgender community as a whole, and especially to show solidarity with transgender youth who play high school sports. This year’s Transgender Day of Visibility occurred just days after an announcement that legislation negatively impacting trans youth in Utah is set to become law.
As the students joined the others gathered on the Capitol Building steps, the excitement, support, and community spirit were palpable. Mike Slade, a therapist at Alpine Academy working with several trans youth, recalls, “This was an amazing experience for our youth and for me as a clinician. As we were approaching the steps of the State Capitol Building, where the march started, one of the youth was practically jumping up and down with excitement and with tears of joy on his face said, ‘This is so affirming. I have struggled with accepting I’m trans and this is so wonderful. I am so thankful I am here.’”
Another student remarked, “We are a community. It’s basically like a brother or sisterhood. This is another step closer to finally getting the world we wanted, and the world we deserve.”
A third student attending expressed that there is a severe lack of representation for transgender people, and she was at the event to change that. “If no one else makes us visible, and we don’t present ourselves, they might as well not see us. If they won’t show us we will show ourselves.”
Alpine students appreciate the opportunity to participate in events like this because it helps them feel more supported and accepted in a world where they are often discriminated against.
The students were supervised at the march and rally by therapist Mike Slade, Family Teachers Levi and Amanda Neely, and Associate Family Teachers Gio Giavanni, MickiAnne Harris, and Ashlynn Mackay. All expressed their support and pride for the students who attended as well as for the LGBTQ community as a whole. Speaking of his experience at the march, Levi Neely, Family Teacher, said, “I am incredibly grateful that my students had the opportunity to see that they are not alone, that there is a whole community that is thriving, and that they too can lead happy and fulfilling lives.”
Following the march, a rally at a local park provided the opportunity for individuals to address a crowd of over 500 people. More than half of the Alpine students who attended spoke at the rally and shared their stories of being trans youth. They were met with applause and messages of support by the crowd. Amanda Neely, Family Teacher, was particularly moved during this part of the event, “It is a beautiful thing to see someone find their voice. Being able to see so many of our kids overcome anxiety and speak about their experiences was transformative. I hope they can always remember the love, confidence, and acceptance they felt in that moment.”
Alpine Academy Therapeutic Schools, state-licensed as residential treatment for adolescents, ages 12-18, includes two campuses – one for males and one for females. The 30+ acre, Utah campuses are just three miles apart and are only 30 minutes west of the Salt Lake City International Airport. Both campuses serve students struggling with severe emotional disturbances. Alpine is a fully accredited school with dual-endorsed teachers. Therapy, with master’s level clinicians, is built into the school day. Alpine is a nationally certified Teaching-Family Model treatment program. Students live in homes with married couples who provide a family-like setting and serve as professional house parents. Through a strength-based, trauma-informed, individualized approach, students are taught healthy behaviors in a setting that best replicates family, school, and community life. Contact: Jill McIntyre 801-815-4683 or firstname.lastname@example.org.