Today: Apr 21, 2024

LBGTQ students support transgender rights

Ali Fernand Features Editor

Transgender people have found themselves as a main topic of conversation in the news and social commentary. While many people are outspoken about their support for trans rights, there have also been movements dedicated against trans existences.  

“There’s a lot of bills that are being considered or even passed in the United States that basically encompass making it illegal to be trans,” exploratory major, Rowan King, a freshman said.  

According to NBC News, 22 states have proposed bills targeting trans health care and drag queens in just 2023 alone. Many politicians have put trans issues on the forefront of their platform, which has been a successful strategy for campaigning.  

For both trans people and trans activists, this has become concerning. These bills target their ability to be openly queer, receive hormone replacement therapy, and gender affirming surgery. Activists have said that these things are vital to the safety of trans individuals.  

“This puts trans people at risk for mental health issues, physical health issues if they don’t have access to hormone treatment or gender affirming surgeries,” SAGE Center Graduate Intern Brandon Iovene said. 

According to Yale, transgender individuals are six times more likely to experience mood and anxiety disorders than those who are not trans. This is attributed to a diagnosis of ‘gender incongruence.’ This is commonly known to the public as ‘gender dysphoria’ which is the discomfort trans people experience with their gender assigned at birth.  

“Your genitals, the combination of hormones and chromosomes you were born with have nothing to do with your identity,” Iovene said.  

The Trevor Project has done research, specifically regarding trans youth, that says that mental health gets better for trans people when they can get their name and gender legally changed on their public documents. With that data, trans activists have advocated that trans people have worse mental health not because of simply being trans, but because of a lack of ability to do what they need in order to ease gender dysphoria.  

Many of the proposed bills have a particular focus on children. A big target has been transgender youth, arguing that children are not able to make the choice of hormones and surgery so young.  

“Children can be weaponized, people will always say ‘think of the children,’” business management major, Nik Matjek, a freshman said  

Trans activist advocate against the idea that children can’t understand their gender identity. There is also the concern from activists that the halting of gender affirming care isn’t just going to stop with banning youth from this care. 

“Let’s not pretend it’s about kids and protecting kids,” Iovene said. “What about other things you need to protect children, what about reforming public education, access to proper nutrition in public schools?” 

Many activists have shown concern that anti-trans advocates do not genuinely care about protecting children. They attribute this legislation and ideology to the fear of queer people.  

“People are trying to eradicate transness by stopping young people from expressing themselves,” King said  

Trans people have also been facing exclusion from movements they have historically been included in. The ‘LGB Alliance’ is a queer group focused on purely advocating for lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights and against transgender rights.  

“Queer people who are erasing trans people from the narrative are just so crazy to me. Where is that getting anybody?” Iovene said.  

The acronym has usually been LGBT, standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Though many in the community have lengthened the acronym to further include different identities, this group has decided to cut people out. They feel that trans people are not a group to be included in their community.  

Trans activists have been outraged at this sentiment, particularly considering that trans people have been at the forefront of queer movements for decades.  

“Sexuality and gender are different, but people target them in the same way in terms of bigotry. We don’t fit social norms,” Matjek said.  

Activists also claim that their advocacy against trans people will eventually backfire against them. Many who are anti-trans are also anti-queer identities in general. The fear for queer people in the community is that this legislation won’t just stop at trans people.  

“Once the radical right deals with the ‘trans issue’ who do you think is next on the chopping block?” Iovene said.  

Trans people and allies bring up the topic of intersectionality when discussing these issues. This philosophy entails that there is overlap in all social identities and movements. This is a key idea in many different types of social justice; feminism, queer rights, and racial justice.  

“If you believe that women should be equal to men, that directly contradicts saying trans people shouldn’t be cis people. If you believe in equality, you must believe in equality for all,” King said. 

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