For people who are transgender, non-binary, genderfluid, genderqueer, and so on (I’m using the term trans+ for this group to make this conversation easier), these are extremely disturbing and frequently painful times. This is due to the fact that so many people are openly making transphobic remarks and actions in addition to which a significant portion of the Republican Party is pushing extremely transphobic legislation that is knowingly infringing on trans+ rights.
To better understand why transphobia is so deeply hurtful, let’s take a look at some numbers. According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), 29% of transgender people live in poverty, and only 22% have health care insurance. 54% have been the victims of domestic abuse, yet only 30% of women’s shelters are willing to house transgender women. 47% of transgender individuals have been sexually assaulted, and during the years 2014 to 2015, 1 in 10 were physically assaulted. Now here are some other numbers from a nationwide survey of nearly 35,000 LGBTQ individuals aged 13 to 24 conducted by the Trevor Project in 2021. During the 12 months before the survey, 42% of this group said they had seriously considered suicide, and for transgender youth, that number went up to 52%. 72% of the LGBTQ youth surveyed indicated that they had symptoms of general anxiety disorder, and only one in three said they lived in a LGBTQ affirming home.
Think about those numbers for a minute. Really think about them. 52% of transgender youth had seriously considered suicide in a 12-month period. That number is sickeningly high and is indicative of the intolerance and prejudice trans+ people must face on a regular basis. Whether coming from everyday people, movies, books, TV shows, or from well known individuals (such as JK Rowling, Dave Chappelle, Ron DeSantis, and others), transphobic comments and actions contribute to the tragically and dangerously high numbers I referenced above because they encourage other people to have intolerant attitudes towards the trans+ community.
Making things even worse is how much of the Republican Party is encouraging transphobic attitudes as it pushes anti-transgender laws in states around the country. Despite the fact that major medical associations in the United States support gender affirming care of transgender minors, Republicans are trying to ban such care in states around the country. Such bans will worsen the suffering of transgender youth and will absolutely increase their suicide rates.
People need to educate themselves and open their minds with regards to trans+ individuals and the LGBTQ community in general. For example, studies have shown that gender affirming care for trans+ under 18 years of age is extremely beneficial, improves quality of life, and thus lowers suicide rates. Decisions on what care will be provided include the individual in question, their parents, their doctors, and typically involve things like puberty blockers (puberty blockers are reversible). In other words, gender affirming care is not done willy-nilly, and actual surgery is extremely rare for individuals under 18.
So people need to stop believing the extremist, prejudiced fear mongering that’s coming from the far right. Everyone needs to learn, open their minds, and call out transphobic comments, actions, and behavior whenever possible. Another vitally important thing to do is vote against politicians who are promoting ignorance, prejudice, and hate with regards to trans+ people.
It’s time to try to make this a better world for everyone, and that includes the trans+ community too.
Transphobia is far too Widespread these Days