The Attack On Trans People – Opinion


Aidan Barney, Editor

Over the past couple years you have likely noticed the rapid increase in states targeting Trans people with  legislation, but that might be all you know. You likely don’t know all the details of what this legislation is specifically targeting, what the effects of the legislation are and most importantly why you should care. 

That is what I am aiming to answer in this piece.

According to the Washington Post over the course of 2020 to 2022 nearly 346 restrictive laws targeting trans people had been proposed in state legislatures across the country. 

Given the sudden rise in this type of legislation I believe it is important for us to better understand what these pieces of legislation are trying to accomplish along with what the effects of them would be or in some cases what the consequences have been.


What Bills Have Been Passed and What Do Those Bills Do? 

Over the last three months, states like Florida, Montana and Missouri have passed legislation to ban gender affirming care for minors, with variations. 

Just recently, on April 19th Florida Republicans passed a bill out of the State House that explicitly targets transgender kids, as well as their families. The bill allows for courts in Florida to have the right to give “temporary emergency jurisdiction” of a child to the state, forcing a child to be separated from their parents. This is all provided under the pretense of the child having been “subjected” to sex reassignment prescriptions or procedures. What Florida Republicans are enabling here is an effort to displace trans kids from their own families just because their family was willing to accept them and who they are. Several Advocates for the LGBTQ+ community have spoken against the bill. Kara Gross of the ACLU of Florida said in a statement “these kinds of bills make it impossible for transgender people to go about their daily lives like everyone else — and it opens the door to abuse and hostile mistreatment. This is state-sanctioned discrimination against Florida’s vibrant trans community.” It’s not just the ACLU either. Alejandra Caraballo, a former staff attorney at the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund said that  “This is a greenlight to transphobic family members to engage in state sponsored kidnapping.” 


The “emergency jurisdiction” bill  isn’t an outlier. Recently on April 21st the Montana state legislature passed yet another bill targeting gender affirming care for minors, specifically puberty blockers, which can be removed and have been approved as safe by the FDA for 30 decades. Not long after that vote on April 26th the state house voted to bar Zooey Zephyr, the states only trans representative from being present on the floor, depriving her constituents of representation. This was in response to when Zephyr made a speech in opposition to the bill explaining how it could cost trans kids their lives due to the state depriving trans kids of a vital resource to validate their identity, and instead of hearing her out and thinking about her claim they kicked her off the house floor all because she dared speak up for her community. 


Legislation targeting transgender people are not just focused on preventing minors from accessing this care. On April 13th the Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey issued a new emergency rule, taking effect on the 27th, that would limit access to gender affirming care for people of all ages, not just minors. The rule would require that anyone considering gender affirming care to receive 18 months of therapy before they would be allowed to provide the procedure. The rule also requires that gender dysphoria needs to have been documented in a patient for at least 3 years before they are permitted to be prescribed treatment for this condition. Bailey claims that this is intended to protect the people of Missouri from “Experimental Interventions,” despite long standing medical research supporting gender affirming care and puberty blockers.


What Are The Effects Of Anti-Trans Legislation?

Due to legislation targeting gender affirming care a trans activist in Texas made the choice to leave the state due to the environment around her community making her feel unsafe.

In 2021 the Texas State legislature was considering passing bills to ban gender affirming care for minors. transgender activist Kai Shappley was brought to speak in opposition to the bill. In her speech to the Texas Legislature she said that “it’s been very scary and overwhelming. It makes me sad that some politicians use trans kids like me to get votes from people who hate me just because I exist…¨ In the summer of the next year Kai and her family decided to evacuate from Texas because of the increasing amount of anti trans legislation being proposed. Her mother said this of the situation, ¨They don’t even have to take my kids to cause them trauma. And by me staying here, I feel like I’m allowing them to continue to cause trauma to my family.”


 If legislation is causing people to feel they have to flee then there is obviously a problem. Often bills like this one from Texas claim to be protecting the children from a ¨dangerous procedure¨, or gender affirming care. However, these bills fail to ever address the fact that evidence suggests eliminating that care could exacerbate the pre existing issue of mental health in trans people. A 2019 study found that 58% of trans people surveyed who wanted to receive gender affirming care but did not receive it had suicidal thoughts whereas 43% of those who had wanted it, and received it had suicidal thoughts. While that is still a horrifying number, it is a clear improvement from when trans people do not receive the care they desire. Taking this resource away from these kids is going to cause problems for their mental health. It is beyond dangerous for these states to decide that they know what’s best for these kids’ mental health when the research clearly shows otherwise.


Why Should We Care?

When talking about the consequences of this type of legislation I mentioned Kai Shappley, a transgender activist and how she testified to the Texas legislature. What I didn’t mention was the fact that Kai was 9 at the time and has been advocating for herself since she was 5. It’s fantastic that she is advocating for herself and that is very important but if we have forced a child to have to be an activist at age 5 we have failed that child. A kid should get to play sports they want to play , dress how they want and go to the bathroom that suits them. We also need to understand that this trend is a distraction, it is to distract from the fact that our public officials in power are not working to solve the issues actually affecting Americans, like inflation, affordable housing or any other of the vast amount of problems people face today. So either we’re supposed to believe that they have solutions and they just don’t care, or they don’t have solutions and this is the only way for them to score cheap political points. As citizens it is our responsibility to ensure restrictive laws such as these bills don’t get passed and we need to rally our public officials, federal and all other levels, for all trans kids to be guaranteed safety and happiness just like all the rest of us.