Across the U.S., many Republican lawmakers are proposing and passing transphobic legislation. This year alone, 498 such laws have been proposed, and 46 passed, compared to 149 proposed and 17 becoming law in 2022. Utah began its year by passing a law that denies hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgeries to people under 18, even when supported by their parents.
SUICIDE RATES SOAR
Black Transgender and non-binary youth are particularly affected. Twenty-five percent of them attempted suicide even before such hateful legislation. The Trevor Project reports higher rates of physical, verbal and cyber assaults, and discrimination compared to other groups. More mental health professionals who are Queer-affirming and culturally competent are needed so that the mental health challenges of 2SLGBTQIA+ youth of color, especially Black, can be met. When Black Trans and non-binary youth have professional, familial and community support, they are much less likely to attempt suicide.
A number of states restrict which bath and locker rooms Transgender youth can use and ban Transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports. While youth suicide has overall decreased over the last 30 years, recently it has increased 37% from 2018 to 2021. Eighty-six percent of Trans and non-binary youth reported their mental health being negatively affected, according to a January poll.
While most proposed queerphobic legislation, including against drag performers and performances, doesn’t become law, the proposals themselves cause stress and put a target on our backs.
Unfortunately, legislation banning Medicaid from covering gender-affirming healthcare for adults has also been proposed and has sometimes become law.
All of the proposed and passed legislation against Trans and gender nonconforming people are the Right’s attempt to get and keep women and girls in “our place.” To make the USA a place grounded in conservative Christianity—a theocratic, reactionary and patriarchal nation.
HEALTH DEBATE ONGOING
An honest debate is occurring as to whether youth should take puberty blockers and hormone therapy because they may cause harm to bone density and brain development. The many medical professionals who do support minors taking hormone blockers see the treatment as a way to ease the mental distress minors with gender dysphoria may feel and give youth a way to explore whether they are Trans or non-binary. That debate continues while research is ongoing. Gender-affirming surgery is rarely performed on minors. Furthermore, it is a lie that all transition is irreversible. Just ask detransitioners.
All young people and adults should feel safe and free to dress up and groom, to present themselves and carry on their lives according to the gender with which they identify, anywhere on the gender spectrum.