Lazzarato, 24, tells PEOPLE she “was absolutely devastated that Trump decided to step back all the work that Obama did. We’d come so far. Trans kids were seeing love and support where they needed it. They needed to feel welcome in their schools and it really disappoints me that we’re back at square one in a lot of places after putting in so much work.”
The YouTube star, who was detained at a Dubai airport in August for being transgender, recalls growing up feeling unsafe in public restrooms because of how she identified.
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“Growing up I always had to wonder if I was welcome and safe in the bathroom that I felt I should be using. Everyone should be able to go to the bathroom in a safe space,” says Lazzarato. “Trans kids are dealing with enough already and ultimately this is just creating a distraction that is going to keep them from concentrating on what they should be, which is their education.”
“I hope all people — trans or not — stay strong and realize they have just as much self-worth as anyone else,” she continues. “It’s sad that this administration is making it seem like some people are lesser than others.”
Despite Trump’s decision, the model says people need to confront the issues head on by participating in rallies, donating to organizations or letting their voice be heard through social media.
“I’ve gone through struggle, not just as a transgender woman but as a human being,” says Lazzarato, whose transition and life story can be seen in the new YouTube Red documentary This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous. “We all suffer and struggle and we need to learn to embrace what makes us the same and make life better for everyone. We need to stand up and fight.”