Anti-trans legislation outlaws many people’s way of life


Thea Pipe, Web Editor

Montana has become the most recent of many states across the country to ban trans people from access to necessary medical care. States across the country, even Michigan, have proposed bills to bar transgender and gender-nonconforming people from receiving healthcare, accessing public restrooms and other basic rights. Some of these states, like Montana, have signed these bills into law, creating a terrifying situation for members of the trans community. 

There are 400 new bills throughout the country that restrict the rights of trans or LGBTQIA+ people. Some failed to get approval in one or both houses of that state’s congress, but many are still in consideration. Some bills have already been made into laws, such as bill SB0480 in Indiana which makes it illegal for any gender affirming surgical procedures to be performed on a person under 18, regardless of parental or patient consent. 

The creation of these bills and the continued push for more to be introduced and signed into law is, as a trangender individual, terrifying. 

Life isn’t easy as a trans person as it is, and school is even harder. Every single day I have to walk through the halls being misgendered and stared at, people getting my name wrong, and questions like, “are you a real girl?”

At every single swim and track meet, I have to sit and compete in a room with strangers from more conservative schools, knowing that if any one of them took issue with my being there, my position on the team would be thrown into question. I had to compete, knowing that a coach or athlete could claim that I had some kind of unfair advantage and I could be disqualified or even kicked off the team, as has happened to other athletes. 

I had to get a special therapist and a special doctor so that I could transition. I have medications that I will have to take for the rest of my life and blood draws that I’ll have to have every six months for the rest of my life. Life as a trans person is already hard. 

So hearing everyday through the news, social media and my friends that my own country is trying to make my mere existence a crime is terrifying. 

I had to listen to my parents make plans about our next vacation, listen to them talk about which states they could stop in with me and about how I wouldn’t be able to leave the car until we were safely at our campsite in Pennsylvania. 

I had to listen to them make plans to immigrate to Canada or even Europe if certain bills got passed or certain representatives won their elections. I have to watch the news every day to make sure that my state is still safe, to make sure my friends in other parts of the country are still safe. I have to watch the news to make sure that I can go to school the next day, that I can go to my next track meet, that I can show my face in public with no increased risk of harm. 

There is an unavoidable risk to being trans, an inherent danger, just as there is with being a woman. There is always a risk that I will be in the wrong place, saying the wrong thing, wearing the wrong clothes around the wrong person and that I’ll get beat up, or even worse, killed. 

There’s always the risk of people dealing with their personal phobias through violent acts. As a matter of fact, in 2022, according to the Human Rights Campaign, there were 38 confirmed trans people who found themselves facing that risk and losing their lives for it.

I know that I am risking my life every single day. I even know that there’s a good chance that nothing will be done if something does happen to me because violence against members of the LGBTIA+ community often goes unreported. 

Even when these acts of violence are reported, according to the American Bar Association, the panic defense can be used to save the attacker from a conviction. The panic defense being the claim that discovering a person is gay or transgender is shocking or frightening enough to justify violence.

To see new laws being signed and bills being proposed that have or will make those few safe places I have left non-existent, is terrifying. To know that in 13 states bills have already been signed into law that make aspects of my daily life illegal, that make it harder for me to access healthcare. To know that in all but five states in this country  –that’s 45 states – there are bills proposing to take away my rights, the rights of all trans people. 

To know that any day the number of anti-trans bills can go up, a bill could be signed into law, a new bill could be proposed and my safety can be stripped away. To go through life every day knowing all of this, being afraid of all of this and still having to get everything done like everyone else is so entirely draining.

Worse yet than the fear for my own safety or my own happiness is the dread I feel for those like me who are younger than me. 

The children who have to grow up and find themselves in a country with so many more dangers posed against them. So many trans kids have to deal with transphobic parents and siblings. Their own family members don’t accept them and even disown them. So many trans kids are homeless or close to it, and now there are so many states seeking to make that situation much worse. 

Trans people already have high suicide rates, between 30 and 50 percent of trans people attempt suicide at one time or another, according to the National Library of Medicine. The UCLA School of Law reports that trans people are also four times more likely to be victims of murder and assault. 

I can only imagine what these laws will do to these kids. I can only imagine what will go through their heads knowing that their lives may as well be illegal. I can only hope that myself and other older trans people can be there for as many of the new generation as possible, bring them up out of this state of fear and illegality.

I can only hope that lawmakers, judges and other members of government will see the error of their ways before the damage is completely irreversible. I can only hope that other states will follow the example of places like New Jersey, choosing to protect children rather than endanger them. I can only hope that this country decides people like me matter. I can only hope that my life doesn’t become a crime.