Only a few months into 2022 and already trans and non-binary rights are at risk. Republican legislators in Arizona, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, New Hampshire and South Dakota have all proposed a series of bills and policy proposals which specifically target trans and non-binary youth. If passed, these bills will prevent a lot of LGBTQ+ young people from being able to fully embrace their identity. It will be illegal for them to access trans and non-binary safe spaces and to compete in sports. Some of these anti-trans legislations will even prevent transgender and non-binary people from being recognised as their true gender in legal documents like birth certificates and drivers licenses.
The Republican party has been known to have a number of somewhat backwards views that many people disagree with. Issues concerning labour unions and minimum wage raises are things that they do not support. They state that these issues shouldn’t need government intervention. The party currently holds 50/100 seats in the senate.
It’s not just Republicans
The trans and non-binary communities have been through enough struggles in past years- and many continue to invalidate them. On the one hand, according to a YouGov survey, only 40% of Americans think a person should legally be able to change their gender. However, only 17% of Republicans share the same sentiments. That’s a shockingly low percentage for a party that holds half of governmental power. Moreover, 54% of US adults believe a transgender woman shouldn’t be able to compete in women’s sport. Why should it matter if a competitor is trans or not? The whole notion is nonsensical. It definitely seems that way coming from a more accepting point of view, but surely the LGBTQ+ community shouldn’t have to deal with this. To ask LGBTQ+ people to stop being themselves is to ask the sun not to shine. It is barbaric to condemn people because of who they are.
What these states are trying to achieve could pose a huge psychological impact for these youths. For example, depression in American teenagers has spiked in the last few years. In 2017, “13% of U.S. teens ages 12 to 17 (or 3.2 million) said they had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year, up from 8% (or 2 million) in 2007”, according to the Pew Research Center. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported in a 2015 study that 14% of trans youths surveyed were reported to have attempted suicide. From a similar survey from 2017, 24.3% female presenting non-binary teens and 11.6% male presenting non-binary teens admitted to attempting suicide in the past. Additionally, 31.6% and 10.1% stated that they would attempt again in the future, respectively.
Protect trans and non-binary youth
By April 2021, 33 states had introduced more than 100 bills that aim to curb trans rights. However, a survey by the PRRI found that, “a large majority of Americans (82%) favour laws that protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing. The proportion of Americans who support nondiscrimination legislation has risen more than 10 percentage points since 2015.”
To target trans and non-binary youth by submitting anti-trans legislations that act against their freedom of expression is nothing short of a hate crime. At a push, it could be explained in part to misunderstanding of something they aren’t willing to understand further. For trans and non-binary communities, this is purely a monumental injustice, committed by those with old fashioned views. For these already targeted communities, I can only hope that these legislations do not make it through to law. The LGBTQ+ community has been through enough.
To see the full list of anti-trans legislations (as well as anit-LGBTQ+ legislations) across the US, click here.