A discussion of the current spate of anti-trans laws being put forward by the Republican party and conservative groups in the US in early 2021. Find us on the web at www.transgressive.net - On Twitter @transgressive21 and at facebook www.facebook.com/transgressive.podcast
So there's an elephant in the room. And of course, by elephant, I mean, the symbol of the Republican party, the room; well, you take your pick: the classroom? The courtroom? The locker room? ... The restroom??!.:
You're listening to Transgressive: a podcast about gender identity, LGBTQ social justice issues.Tananda:
As of late April, 2021, there are somewhere between 25 to 33 States, depending on whose numbers you look at, who are actively considering or have considered anti-trans legislation. These anti-trans legislative initiatives are taking multiple forms, but by far, the most common are bills that are aimed at preventing trans girls and trans women from competing in various sports. There appears to be a very large amount of conservative Pearl clutching about how trans girls or trans women are going to ruin sports and dominate every single event that they compete in, and thus just destroy the very foundation of women's sports. Of course, let's just sort of set aside the fact that trans women are women, thank you very much... Let's just talk about the fact that in sports where trans women have been able to compete, trans women have not dominated the field or completely crushed everyone else. They compete competitively... Which is kind of well... The point. But what's really disingenuous is that these folks who are making such a fuss and clutching their pearls so strongly traditionally have not given a darn about girls sports or women's sports in the past. It seems very convenient and really is bordering on concern-trolling. What is also particularly alarming is that Connecticut, New Jersey and Hawaii come to mind as States that are traditionally fairly progressive, and they're jumping on the same bandwagon for some reason. Most of these sports-related bills are being aimed at middle school and high school, but some are reaching up as far as to college and even trying to reach into professional sports. This leads us to the second largest category, which is legislation attempting to criminalize or outlaw providing trans youth with gender affirming care. These bills are attempting to do things like make it illegal, to provide puberty-blocking, or puberty-delaying drugs and treatments to young trans people so that they can avoid going through the wrong puberty until such a time they are old enough to consent to actual hormone replacement therapy. Along with these bills that are attempting to block the puberty blocking treatments. They're very often also making it illegal to provide hormone replacement therapy to anyone under 18.... With one exception: North Carolina... who is actually aiming to make it 21. For many of us trans people who transitioned many years ago, where we weren't aware that there was treatment available, or when there wasn't treatment available for trans people under the age of 18, it was inevitable that you would go through the wrong puberty for your gender identity. I realized at the age of about 16 that I was trans, I had known for all my life, how I felt, but the actual understanding of, Oh, I'm at the time the term was transsexual, "Oh, I'm transsexual . I want to do something about this." And knowing that there was absolutely nothing I could do until I was 18 when I could consent to care because no doctor would treat you under the age of 18. At that time, that was hell watching my body going through and feeling my body going through that wrong puberty was painful. The trans youth of today, whose parents are willing to consent to treatment can look forward to blocking that wrong puberty. And at 16 making an informed consent decision if they want to go onto hormone replacement therapy so that they can go through the right puberty for their gender identity without ever having to suffer that indignity of watching their body go through a puberty that is completely out of line with who they are inside. When you go through male puberty, there are certain changes that are pretty much irreversible, no matter how much hormone therapy or surgery you get. After the fact, these characteristics include the widening of the shoulders, the lowering of the voice, and certain other skeletal changes. Once you go through those, there's no undoing them. Other changes such as development of facial hair require extensive and expensive and painful electrolysis or laser hair removal to correct. Other changes such as muscle strength, endurance, and skin texture. Many of these things can be reversed by the blocking of testosterone and the introduction of estrogen hormone replacement therapy. Likewise, trans men who have had to go through female puberty that they didn't want to go through. They are stuck with whatever widening of the hips and whatever narrow shoulders they have. And no amount of surgeries is going to alter that their hormone replacement therapy will allow them to get a bit of a lower voice and it will give them facial hair, but any breast development they went through is irreversible without painful and expensive surgeries. The point is, is that for both trans men and trans women who have gone through the wrong puberties, there have been certain changes that, that wrong puberty has wreaked upon their body, that they can never undo no matter how much surgery, no matter how much they would like to change that . The fact that today it is possible to block puberty and go through only the right one is just such a huge benefit for the trans youth of today. The emotional pain, that one feels when one's body does not match their gender is called dysphoria. And this in and of itself is a difficult enough thing for trans people to have to go through. However, the fact is is that a great deal of the suffering that trans people go through is social in nature. You add to that, the harassment that trans people go through, especially those who are early in transition. It really is a form of mental abuse and torture. Going through puberty is an awkward process going through a second puberty and going through transition is a hundred times more awkward for most people. Trans people who are in the midst of that transition are often targets of harassment and hate the incongruency between the secondary characteristics that they were born in with and got from their original puberty, sort of fighting it out with the characteristics they're trying to develop and nurture for how they wish to present is something that often makes trans people targets for harassment and abuse, and sometimes even violence. Yet these laws treat the treatment of trans youth as if it's somehow experimenting on them or is abusing them. A lot of this comes from the very wrong headed idea. That being trans is some kind of a phase or some kind of a choice. I mean, I can't speak for every single trans person out there, but I will tell you, I did not choose to be trans. I did not choose to be born in a body that did not map to the gender in my head. I did not choose to be born a boy. However, I did, I have a choice to do something about it. And I can tell you in no uncertain terms that having that choice and being able to make that choice voice of my own free will saved my life. It gave me a chance to have a life being trans. So on one level people might think, "Oh, well, you could choose not to do anything about it." But the thing is that's, that's not really an option for many of us because many trans people have tried to deny that aspect of themselves because of the societal pressures and the hatred toward them. Trans people... many trans folks try to fit in. T hey try to deny that they're trans not only to the world, but to themselves and suppress it. And for many folks who do that, that leads to depression and basically very bad mental health outcomes. This is why over 40% of t rans and people surveyed have attempted to end their own lives at some point. And so when I say I didn't choose to be trans, but I chose to do something a bout, about it, understand that choosing to do something about it was basically choosing to live. It was basically choosing to have a life that I could be happy with, and for many trans people, that is the reality. We are not choosing to be trans, but we are choosing to transition so that we can bring our bodies into alignment with our minds into alignment, with how we have always felt inside, regardless of what outside forces have tried to tell us, we should, or shouldn't be. These two categories are actually intertwined even more because those people who are trying to prevent trans girls and trans women from competing in women's and girls sports will tell you of how completely vantage is when a person who's gone through mail . It competes with girls and women. The thing is, is that then they're also trying to stop transkids from blocking the wrong puberty and going through the right puberty. In theory, if you have a trans girl who transitioned and blocked her puberty, she would be at a decided disadvantage over other girls, her age until she reached 16, when she could potentially choose to go through female puberty, and then she would be competing exactly on even there is no difference whatsoever between a trans girl who has blocked male puberty. And when through female puberty and a CIS girl who just went through female puberty in terms of athletic performance or advantage none, the X Y chromosomes, don't give you anything advantage whatsoever because all of those secondary sex characteristics, the advantages of testosterone only happen. If you go through male puberty, yet these folks with their Pearl clutching, they just really want to stop trans girls from existing at all. And that's really the heart of that. So, I mentioned that North Carolina had a law about being 21 before you could receive trans care. That law puts them among the worst of the worst, because the idea that you're going to deny trans youth, the ability to transition is bad enough, but to then say, "Oh, and yeah, you're going to have to wait until you're 21"... That's just absolutely twisting the knife. The state of Montana has apparently decided to try and make a law that said that doctors can refuse to treat trans patients. Now, in theory, one might suppose it means that doctors can refuse to treat a trans person for trans related things, such as refuse to give them hormone therapy. But in their haste to pass these anti-trans laws, they've effectively written bills that would allow doctors to refuse to treat trans people for anything and insurance companies to refuse to cover trans people for anything proponents of these laws may say, "Oh, that's not our intention", but the truth is this is going to result in people being denied basic medical care, not even related to being trans. The States of Texas and New Hampshire are particularly aggressive in their anti trans youth treatment laws in that they want to characterize parents and or caregivers giving trans affirming care to trans youth as child abuse. In the state of Texas, they were considering trying to take trans children away from parents. If the parents supported them in their transitioning, even for social transition. It is not my intent to make this a partisan podcast. But as I said in my previous episode about Caitlyn Jenner, the fact is the Republican party has declared war on trans people. Our website is www.transgressive.net. You can reach out to us [email protected] We can also be reached at Twitter @transgressive21. Please consider leaving a five-star review on your favorite podcast platform. I'm Tananda. And this was Transgressive.