Response to Anti-LGBT Legislation Part Two: Trans Issues

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

This is a continuation of my discussion of recent anti-LGBT legislation and will specifically talk about trans issues and legislation.

Much of this recent anti-LGBT legislation is specifically targeted at trans people and more precisely trans children. 

In February, Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, signed an executive order for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate the parents and families of trans children for “child abuse.” In his attempt to “stop child abuse,” Abbott, in effect, would harm trans kids far more than gender affirming-care ever would. 

In a 2020 national survey of over 40,000 LGBT youth, 60% of trans youth reported self-harming within 12 months of the study, and 40% reported seriously considering suicide within that timeframe. That is an exceptionally high rate for almost any demographic, so think about how much worse this would get if trans kids now had to worry about their parents being arrested and jailed, just because they were trans. This executive order, if put into effect, would take far more lives than it would ever “save.”

A lot of these anti-trans government actions stem from deep misconceptions about trans people and specifically trans kids, so it’s important to understand the reality of trans kids and their transitions before jumping the gun and calling their parents child abusers. For one, to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria, you can’t just doctor shop psychiatrists to get one frivolous letter. It’s a longer and more extensive process; a random parent can’t just force it on their kid. 

Many people also say that these kids go through irreversible changes and that they “mutilate their genitals” and this is also not true. Before puberty, the only changes kids usually have is social transitioning. They don’t take any medicine and have any surgical procedures. I

n fact, the vast majority of changes kids go through are reversible. Surgeries, and specifically bottom surgery, are not done until at least the age of 16. Many will say that you can’t decide on something that big at the age of 16 and 17, but if I can sign up for the military at 17 years old, I think it’s OK to say that bottom surgery that’s been given the green light after years and years of consulting and doctor visits is fine.

Now let’s address the actual flawed logic of transphobic rhetoric directed at trans kids. To use the irreversible changes line is not only false, but it’s entirely disingenuous. Using this line of reasoning, circumcising babies (in order to prevent potential infections and health issues) is bad.

Using that logic, me getting surgery to fix a gap in my teeth and me being tongue-tied is bad simply because it’s “irreversible.” These examples, though, are significantly less important than gender-affirming care, so why are they so widely accepted? 

Despite what transphobes might say, gender-affirming care is an absolutely essential and life-saving process. 

If you would still oppose it, then you should also oppose removing a failing kidney, chemotherapy, surgeries to remove cancerous tumors, heart surgery, and more. If you oppose social transitioning for kids or using hormone blockers in trans kids, then you should also oppose kids wearing glasses or contacts, kids taking depression medication, ADHD medication, or really any kind of long-term medicine usage. If this makes a child happier with a better quality of life, why does it matter? 

Why should they have to conform to your preconceived (and scientifically wrong) notions of gender if it makes them have a significantly worse state of being? They aren’t hurting or harming anyone; in fact, they are the ones who are disproportionately bullied and harmed by others. 

To put it simply, mind your own business.

Now let’s discuss what’s probably one of the silliest national political discussions in recent years. Iowa bill HF 2416 bans transgender people from competing in sports up to the collegiate level. While I understand it’s important in a competition such as sports to know the differences between biological males and females, this isn’t something that should be regulated on the governmental level and should be taken on a sports by sports and case by case basis. Despite what people may tell you, different sports have different gaps between genders.

For example, according to the National Library of Medicine, the gap between men and women in Jumping is 17.5% whereas the gap for 800-m freestyle swimming is only 5.5%. To put this in the context of trans athletes competing, it would really depend on a sport by sport basis and how long they’ve been on hormone replacement therapy, HRT.

People will often say that they could just identify as the opposite gender one day and compete in the opposite gender’s sports but that’s simply not true. The vast majority of trans athletes compete with the gender they identify as after at least 2 years of being on HRT. Men can’t just put a wig on and compete in women’s sports despite what disingenuous politicians may tell you.

The most high-profile outrage around trans athletes has recently surrounded Leia Thomas after her placing first place in swimming. To be frank, this entire outrage is filled to the brim with misinformation. For one, she was not truly placing below 400th in the men’s divisions. This only happened while she was transitioning and was still competing in men’s swimming. To boot, she really wasn’t dominating women’s swimming either.

She placed last place in numerous women’s competitions and even when she won it was by an extremely narrow margin. Despite this, you still have Tucker Carlson going on live TV saying “men” are dominating women’s sports which is simply not true. The topic of trans women competing in sports is admittedly a tricky one, but the hyperbolic outrage over it not only has led to a ton of misinformation, but it also detracts from the larger discourse.

Regardless of how you feel about trans people competing in sports, making it into a national political discussion only detracts from the larger issues and only serves as a way for people to invalidate trans people. Why are we talking about this rather than the systemic discrimination and violence against trans people? At the end of the day, the sports issue is a relatively minor issue compared to the larger whole.