Hundreds of students in a school district in Arizona walked out of their class on Thursday to protest the new laws that have been signed by Gov. Doug Ducey that are believed to be discriminatory against LGBT and transgender students.

The walkout, planned by the student-led activist group Support Equality Arizona Schools, happened in Hamilton High School in Chandler, Arizona, with the organization’s founder Dawn Shim among those who walked out of the school, according to the Arizona Mirror.

“Dear (Gov. Doug) Ducey and Arizona representatives, these bills are killing us,” Shim said. “They are killing our peers. We do not need any more students hurt by your actions. We aren’t out here missing our school day and interrupting our education because we want to. We have been forced into it.”

Shim had created the organization with ten other core students after reading the legislation being passed by Arizona’s state Congress. Among some of the discriminatory bills that have recently become laws are ones where transgender youth athletes are forced to play sports on teams that are inconsistent with their gender identity, and which restrict further their ability to access gender-affirming healthcare, The Hill reported.

“Across America, more and more anti-LGBTQ legislation is being passed by the people sworn in to protect us,” Shim continued. “We also have a burgeoning mental health crisis among young teens. These two factors are not coincidental. The Trevor Project finds that, in 2022, almost 45% of LGBTQ youth considered suicide in the last year.”

Over 200 students participated in the walkout, marching toward Dr. A.J. Chandler Park to listen to the program. A similar program in Hamilton High School at the same time also had students speak about their fears regarding their gender identity in the current administration.

“It is embarrassing that we live in a state and a country where people are at risk simply for being who they are and loving who they want,” Hamilton High School senior Blues Patrick said.

“School should be a safe place. Teachers are often the only people students with homophobic parents can talk to, and this law shatters that,” 14-year-old Ace Yates said.

Similar walkouts have happened this year in response to anti-LGBT legislation being passed around the country. Recently, Virginia students from multiple school districts recently walked out after Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration attempted to push for anti-transgender policies in the state.

“Yeah, I’m angry,” Leela Raj-Sankar from Hamilton High School said. “I am really angry — all the time. But I want to be able to do something with that anger. I don’t want to just stand up here and say there will be change without being the one to put my feet on the ground and do something about it.”

Arizona students staged a school walkout on Thursday in protest of Gov. Doug Ducey's anti-LGBT laws that are to take effect in the future, with many of them decrying the discriminatory practices of the laws against LGBTQ students. This is a representational image. Denin Lawley/Unsplash.

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