Opinion: Resources should be more accessible to trans youth

Opinion%3A+Resources+should+be+more+accessible+to+trans+youth

Kai Vendetti, Design Coordinator

It’s really ironic that a large group of transphobic parents spent the nine months of pregnancy telling friends and family that as long as the baby was healthy, they didn’t care what gender it was. If that was really true, wouldn’t they try harder to assist their child in their transition? Wouldn’t those in spots of power try to prevent laws discriminating against Trans Youth just trying to exist? Wouldn’t there be more access to resources that help trans kids through their transition? Well, the fact of the matter is that the people that are trying to “protect kids” are missing the mark by a shamefully and woefully large amount. 

Growing up, along with all the things most kids have to deal with growing up, trans kids are also stuck with, in most cases, large amounts of Gender Dysphoria. Gender Dysphoria is defined as “Psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity.”

Allow me to state for the court that SEX and GENDER are completely different things. There are only two sexes, AMAB (Assigned Male At Birth) and AFAB (Assigned Female At Birth), although there are always occasional exceptions. Gender, however, is what you express yourself to be. I, for instance, am nonbinary; I don’t fit neatly under the male or female label, despite what I was assigned at birth. I have no issue talking about this, and if people have questions about it, I encourage them to ask me at any time. However, I’m well aware that isn’t always the case with other people, which is also fine. Despite this being obvious, I feel I should state for the court; no matter what people’s situations are, they should have somewhat easy access to what they need to transition.

It’s hard enough growing up with your brain not matching your body, but it’s even worse when the place you live capitalizes on that fact. The options for remedying dysphoria are not by any means limited; if anything, the options you have can be a bit overwhelming when you’re first starting out. That is, so long as you have the money for it. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for many people. Either they’re living in unsupportive families, or they can’t afford it, or they’re simply unable to obtain what they need. For the average MTF person, Hormone Therapy ALONE is around $1,500 a year. That, along with Gender Reassignment Surgery, Facial Feminization Surgery, and Breast Augmentation, will total to about $61,500 at minimum. That isn’t exactly something the everyday person can afford at once, especially if the person in question is of lower-income. Thanks to America’s Healthcare System, not only is dying of preventable disease completely possible but living in a body that doesn’t hate you has become a luxury. 

There are quite a few examples of this. For instance, for a while, I was trying to figure out how to get a binder. I and my one friend looked into it online one day after school, after I measured myself to see what would work for me. To my surprise, the cheapest on the website was around $40. Luckily, I was able to afford it, however, that isn’t always the case for other people. Some people may not be able to afford it because they are too focused on surviving after being kicked out by unsupportive parents, which neatly brings me to my next topic.

What I just described is already one hurdle trans youth have to dodge. The next one is something that a good portion of trans kids, myself included, have to deal with; unsupportive family. A good 50% of Trans Youth don’t come out about it until they reach puberty. Most unsupportive parents, and even some supportive but inexperienced parents, will usually tell their child that they’re too young to know and that they should wait until after puberty since they’re “too hormonal”. However, the damage will have already been done by then, and it’ll be MUCH harder for that person to transition once they’ve already gone through puberty that doesn’t correspond to their gender. It’s much harder to pass when something like that’s already happened, hence why I personally am a firm believer in Hormone Blockers being an option; they’re fully reversible, and it could give a person that’s pre-puberty and doesn’t know just yet some time to figure out what path they wish to take. 

Another topic I’d like to look at is the mental health of trans youth in America, and how neglected it’s been. Around June of 2020, The Trevor Project, a major nonprofit organization founded in 1998 focused on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth, conducted a mass survey among LGBTQ+ Youth, and uncovered some information that should come as alarming to a large portion of people. According to the survey taken among LGBTQ+ youth, 48% of this group said that in the last 12 months, they engaged in self-harm; that number rose to 60% for trans and nonbinary youth. The fact that this number is so high is bad enough, but the fact that it’s probably grown since last year is even worse. Trans and Nonbinary Youth that have a supportive system of people surrounding them are probably less likely to attempt suicide, however, considering where the number is currently at, it’s incredibly apparent that this is not the case. 

 

One of the biggest issues so far that’s also claiming the lives of Trans People would be the murder of Trans People. In 2020 alone, a multitude of Trans People, a large number of them being trans people of color, had their lives unfairly taken. Their names are listed below.

 

Dustin Parker, McAlester, OK

Alexa Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico

Yampi Méndez Arocho, Moca, Puerto Rico

Monica Diamond, Charlotte, NC

Lexi, New York, NY

Johanna Metzger, Baltimore, MD

Penélope Díaz Ramírez, Bayamon, Puerto Rico

Layla Pelaez Sánchez, Puerto Rico

Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, Puerto Rico

Nina Pop, Sikeston, MO

Helle Jae O’Regan, San Antonio, TX

Tony McDade, Tallahassee, FL

Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, Philadelphia, PA

Riah Milton, Liberty Township, OH

Jayne Thompson, Mesa County, CO

Selena Reyes Hernandez, Chicago, IL

Brayla Stone, Sherwood, AR

Merci Mack, Dallas, TX

Shaki Peters, Amite City, LA

Bree “Nuk” Black, Pompano Beach, FL

Summer Taylor, Seattle, WA

Draya McCarty, Baton Rouge, LA

Tatiana Hall, Philadelphia, PA

Marilyn Cazares, Brawley, CA

Tiffany Harris, The Bronx, NY

Queasha D. Hardy, Baton Rouge, LA

Brian “Egypt” Powers, Akron, OH

Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears, Portland, OR

Nothing about this is okay, whatsoever. We as a planet need to do better to keep these people alive and allow them to live the lives that they deserve to live as human beings. It terrifies me personally that living the way I choose to live could end in my fatality eventually, as it has for so many other people. Please, for the sake of those around you, do better, dammit.