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The Dangerous Effects of Anti-Transgender Legislation

Although we’re only four months into 2021, there has been more than 80 anti-transgender youth bills introduced through U.S. state legislators, the largest amount in history. There are two categories of bills being introduced. The first deals with the participation of trans athletes, with an emphasis on trans women, in school sports. The second limits or denies transgender youth gender from receiving gender affirming health care and surgeries. These laws are all aimed at denying transgender youth the right to seek treatments and to practice in activities that are open to all other youths. These bills have been introduced in more than 30 states, most of which have been held by republican legislators for decades. These bills are dangerous not only to children's physical health, but also to their mental health. There's what you need to know about the different types of bills, and how they cause harm to transgender youth.

Athletic Bans:

These athletic ban bills would make it illegal for a transgender student to play on a sports team that aligns with their gender identity. Instead, the student would be forced to play on the sports team that matches the gender they were given at birth. Republican lawmakers have stated numerous times that these bills are being passed to protect fair competition in sports. These lawmakers also claim that these bills are needed to specially protect girls sports, suggesting that if a trans girl was to play on an all girls team that she would have an unfair advantage because she would be more “masculine.” Statements such as these show the underlying sexism that these laws also create. In some cases the bills would even require genital examinations to be done by the school to ensure that the child is playing on the correct team. This is not only an invasion of privacy, but it is also traumatizing children from a young age. While senators argue that these bills are needed, there is no substantial evidence to claim that trans kids playing sports are causing an unfair advantage. Trans youth make up a very small part of the U.S. population, and statically there is not enough evidence or reports to back up these bills.

Medical Bans:

These bills would make it illegal for doctors to perform gender affirming treatments on people that have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is the medical diagnosis for a person who’s gender does not match their sex, or the gender they were assigned at brith. Gender affirming treatments include puberty blockers and hormone blockers. Puberty blockers are used to pause the effects of puberty in teens that are coming to terms with being transgender. Hormone blockers are a more serious treatment for people 16 years or older who want to begin the process of a medical transition. Senators say that children are too young to be making these “irreversible decisions.'' However children and teens do not make these decisions alone; parents, guardians and doctors are all a part of this process and do everything possible to make sure that taking these treatments is the right choice for the child. Also studies have shown that the effects of puberty blockers can be reversed. Even if these bills do not get signed into law, they still have damaging effects on transgender youths mental health.These bills cause kids stress and anxiety with the thought that can not be who they truly are. These bills are also telling kids that who they are is wrong, and something that has to be made illegal. 

So if there is no real legal argument for either of these types of bills, then why are they even being introduced in the first place? The answer is politics. For decades, conservatives have opposed any type of legislation or group of people that went against “traditional family values.” In the 1970s, conservatives fought against abortion, in the 2000s it was the right to same sex marriage, now it’s the rights of transgender youth. Republicans have used all of these causes to fire up their base, and to gain political traction. The danger is that these bills affect actual people and change and alter lives. These bills need to stop, the hate against people who simply wish to exist needs to stop. Trans women are women, trans men are men, and there is no reason that they should not receive rights and protection from their own government that any other person receives.

Megan Seaver

Emmanuel '24

Hi my Name is Meg I'm a freshmen at Emmanuel College. Some things I'm interested in writing about are feminist issues, politics, and current issues around the world.
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