The anti-transgender legislation is going to impact more than people think.
In recent months, many states have been pushing forward a number of anti-transgender bills. These bills, if passed, aim to control and restrict the sports teams transgender people could join, which bathrooms they are allowed to use and the medical care they can receive. In a very recent New York Times article, it stated that since the end of January, there have been more than 400 bills in around 45 of the 50 states as of mid-April.
The bills are all strongly against any minor receiving gender-affirming care and make it illegal to do so. Specifically in Oklahoma and South Carolina, it would be considered a felony to provide gender-affirming care to someone younger than 26. Other states like Kansas and Mississippi would make it a felony before the age of 21. Finally, in Arkansas anyone under 18 would not receive gender-affirming care, nor would anyone who needs something similar such as hormone replacement.
The argument many conservatives take is that of wanting to protect the children, claiming that them being exposed to drag or non-heterosexual relationships is inappropriate. They also try to perpetuate an old belief that paints members of the LGBTQIA+ community as predatory. Not only is this narrative wrong, it spreads harmful misinformation that can endanger the LGBTQIA+ community.
In another New York Times article, focusing on transgender voices, participants were asked to describe what it is like to be transgender in the U.S. today. Many said things like “misunderstood” and “dangerous” when it came to their experience. They also recount when they first realized they were queer or transgender, many of whom were very young. I spoke with a UW Tacoma student with a transgender child about their family’s experience with antitransgender legislation and its impacts on them, even though Washington is a safe state currently. They specifically wanted to point out that gender-affirming care is not only hormone therapy and surgery, it is an array of things. From the clothing one wears to the surgeries they choose, it all falls under gender-affirming care. “Gender-affirming care is a universal right that every individual has and expects,” they said.
As someone who is cisgender yet still needs hormones due to other health issues, it’s crazy to think about not only how this would impact me but others that don’t generally think of their choices being included in the narrative. Some birth control is hormonal and they use synthetic progesterone and estrogen to avoid pregnancy, though many conservatives and the bans they are pushing forward do not make a distinction between types of birth control. These birth control methods that are hormonal though are often used for other health issues beyond gender-affirming care, like hormonal imbalances. I take this stance because it seems that no one truly cares unless it directly impacts them. So, if these bills were to pass, how would it affect you? If you think that it would never come to that or that it could never impact you, you are wrong.