Pandering to a Refusal of Facts: How Republicans are Putting Trans Kids’ Lives at Risk

Main image courtesy of Mother Jones.

By Evelina Torres

Having already faced 147 anti-trans bills across the country last year, the trans community and their allies have had enough with transphobic rhetoric that fuels the creation and passing of dangerous bills. From “bathroom bills” preventing trans kids from using their correct restroom to banning trans kids from playing sports, there is a demonstration of aggression and ostracization of transgender people, especially harmful for kids at a fundamental time of their lives. 

2022 hasn’t been much better with dozens of bills moving through legislatures and officials’ desks across the country. Texas as of recent has been especially abhorrent, with Gov. Greg Abbott’s new order that makes parents’ support for their child’s gender transition a form of child abuse, striking fear into parents and children’s lives. Parents, who are providing the best care for their child by helping them transition, are threatened and trans children feel unsafe. Families are living in legitimate fear of losing their children to the state because of Abbott and current Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s ignorant and transphobic opinions. 

While courts are putting a stop to the implementation of the new order, the fact that a bill like this was able to be signed into law is unacceptable. Despite 78% of Americans supporting laws to protect LGBTQ people, the United States is seeing a steady rise in homophobic and transphobic laws on a state by state level. 

Anti-trans bills have been introduced, and even passed, in countless states. These bills isolate transgender youth, threaten their safety and wellbeing, and are often blatantly transphobic and extremely harmful. Image courtesy of ABC News.

Within conservative media, there is a narrative that the left is brainwashing children into thinking they are trans, and performing harmful, irreversible surgery that ruins the child’s future when they finally realize they are not trans. This is far from the truth. Medical support of a child’s transition will often look like changes in name, pronouns, and clothes. Studies, as reported by the Trevor Project, show that positive affirmation of a child’s gender identity via name change is able to decrease suicidal ideation by 29% in comparison to children who do not receive the proper treatment or affirmation. Further, “prior to pubertal suppression, 44% of youth experienced clinically significant behavioral problems; however, after an average of two years of pubertal suppression only 22% experienced them. And 30% experienced clinically significant emotional problems prior to pubertal suppression compared to 11% after two years of care”. 

This heavily affects these individuals’ mental health as they grow into adulthood and can have lifetime consequences. While detransition is a real occurrence, it is a very low number of those who transition, even in their adolescence. About 97% of those who transition are satisfied with their transition, and even out of those 3% who aren’t, most do not detransition. Further, any medical treatment outside of social changes (clothes, appearance, and name change) will at most include puberty blockers, which poses no harm to the child even if they decided to detransition; they simply stop taking puberty blockers, and stop participating in particular social changes. Even then, only around 1.9% of children will stop. These statements are not lies crafted by leftists (because unfortunately, there are plenty of transphobic leftists). These are facts that are found within real life and real medical data. No matter how many people will try to highlight those who detransition and twist their stories into transphobic narratives, we cannot allow ourselves to have policy shaped by a loud, incorrect minority of conservatives.

Transitioning can consist of a variety of steps, such as changing your name or starting hormone therapy. Respecting trans people’s names, pronouns, gender identity, and expression shapes a positive environment for them to learn, grow, and develop in. Image courtesy of Verywell Health.

The Republican party claims to be protecting children. They are the supposed party of free speech and decentralized government. Via these transphobic bills, they are proving themselves wrong. Republicans, in their efforts to gain voters from a far right-wing, religious base, are making the degradation of lives of trans people, trans children, into tools for their success. These types of bills are creating a greater surveillance state and suppressing the valid expression of gender; they are in no way an expression of freedom of religion–the government has no religion–they are in no way a safety measure–these bills prove more dangerous when looking at statistics. 

There is no “issue” with transgender kids. The issue is the lack of support, treatment, and respect for them, which leads to long term harm, and frankly, death. We need to put a stop to these bills, and there needs to be federal protection for transgender children, adults, and their families.

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