One of America’s latest trends has been one of hatred and bigotry: the introduction of legislation that alienates our transgender citizens.
There have been a few states now that have presented bills that would restrict America’s transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming treatment, typically in the form of hormones. These decisions have been made by predominantly Republican parties who claim that they want to place restrictions on gender-affirming care due to the lack of medical evidence that it is safe. However, this is far from the truth, as multiple medical groups have come forward and defended that these restrictions will do more harm than good.
In South Dakota, there were three separate House bills proposed dedicated to limiting the transgender community. Despite the pleading from the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association and the American Psychiatric Association that this action would negatively affect the mental health of countless transgender youths, Republicans continued pushing.
The even sadder fact of this is that they know their reasoning is a lie, as GOP State Rep. Fred Deutsch tweeted after signing the restriction of gender-affirming care into law calling transgender youth “gender-confused.” This tweet has been taken down since.
This is not the only state to do this, as Texas has championed a similar bill for the same reasons in the face of a report by the National Center for Transgender Equality that found that 40% of about 27,000 transgender people surveyed had attempted suicide.
In Florida, transgender activist Lindsey Spero spoke in front of the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine about how his hormone treatment saved his life and publicly injected his testosterone in front of them before the board ended the meeting early and voted in favor of the restrictions anyway.
These government officials are suffering from a lack of human empathy despite being in charge of our communities. They refuse to recognize our trans youth as who they are, driving them to want to end their lives. They believe there will be more freedom in death than in a country that preaches freedom for all.
The Trevor Project, a nonprofit organization that dedicates itself to suicide prevention in our LGBTQ+ youth, conducted a national survey in 2022 and the results were devastating to read. After surveying roughly 34,000 LGBTQ+ youth, 45% considered attempting suicide, with nearly 1 in 5 transgender and non-binary youth actually attempting it.
Gender is social, sex is biological. That is what people keep forgetting and in turn, our fellow humans are suffering to the point that they do not want to live at all anymore. That was how Eden Knight, a Saudi trans woman, felt after her parents forced her to detransition. She was cornered and alone, and the way things are going now, I can understand why she was afraid.
Many others could fall to this fate if government officials refuse to realize that they are not protecting anyone from anything. They are deliberately endangering our transgender youth and risking the mental turmoil of detransitioning or being stuck with the natural processes of a body they don’t fit in.
It is not the government’s job to control how we exist in this life. Its job is to support our communities and maintain order. It never goes well when they poke their nose into our personal business, from the overturning of Roe v. Wade to these harmful bills.
So, what should we do now? Well, the transgender community needs more support than ever before. Support organizations such as the National Center for Transgender Equality or the Trevor Project and get behind transgender activists. When possible, advocate for their rights and educate those around you on the difference between “sex” and “gender.” Emphasize what pronouns you use and the importance of acknowledging and accepting other people’s pronouns.
Education needs to be our tool in forging a future where our transgender youth no longer need to fear that their rights will be taken away, that their humanity will be denied. Trans lives matter.
Featured photo courtesy of Katie Rainbow, Pexels