Attack of the Transphobes: Government Edition

It is a scary time to be a transgender person in America, especially in the southern part of the country. Left and right, more policies and bills are attempting to be passed limiting what a trans person can do to help themselves, or simply exist. There are so many places to start, but let’s go with the one that was the smoking gun for attacking transgender rights and the rights of their families: Texas.

When a mom of trans kids said “I’ve been seeing a therapist for years so I don’t cry in front of my kids over things that they shouldn’t have to worry about” (NPR), it is apparent how dire things are. This quote is in reference to her feelings on legislative sessions in Texas and how terrifying things are for trans people of all ages in that state. Specifically this year, a new bill was introduced that forces the hands of all parents to trans children, saying that if they were to provide any medical transitional care to their kids, they are liable to be sued or worse, jailed for child abuse. The state is equating gender affirming action to child abuse, and people don’t bat an eye.

I know my bias as a transgender woman, but fundamentally there is this strange disconnect between obvious hate and a recognition that these things don’t actually effect anyone other than the people choosing to do it. To say that attacking the rights of people is ok just because you think it’s wrong isn’t just an awful take, it’s harmful to others. The fact is that, as much as others would like to believe, being transgender only effects the person who has to deal with gender dysphoria (a disconnect between brain and physical attributes,) and the transphobia in the world. To say that a person transitioning is not only bad but child abuse isn’t just libel, it’s genuinely harmful to those who need to transition.

However, the topic of transitioning isn’t the only way America chose to be transphobic this year. Many states are also continuing the crusade against transgender females participating in female sports, claiming it gives those players an inherent advantage. The biggest example today of a woman being attacked for purportedly cheating by being in the section of athletics for their gender is Lia Thomas, a UPenn swimmer who won first place and subsequently was attacked on all fronts for existing as herself and participating in her field. The argument used is that since she went through a “male puberty,” she has an inherent genetic advantage.

Yet there is a reason behind how she was able to participate in women’s swimming, and that was simply because of her hormone treatments. Most trans people, if able (trust me, if able is an incredibly important distinction), go through hormone treatments that not only reverse just about every aspect of their original puberty (besides things like chest growth for trans men or adam’s apple dropping for trans females), but also push said person through the correct puberty. Thomas has not only been undergoing these treatments, but has been proven to be at the same physical level as the other women, if not at a disadvantage because of the effects of the hormone treatments.

The fundamental thing to understand, and the reason why I wrote this article, is that people like to hide behind morality as an excuse for the transphobia that they have. Whether it be under the guise of child abuse for gender affirming treatment for kids, which doctors have to sign off on and monitor heavily, or under the guise of cheating at sports in which the person in question has more of a disadvantage than advantage, it’s harrowing to watch. Fundamentally, people should be able to live their lives the way that they want, and if someone is going to be transphobic, I and everyone else would rather they come out and say it as opposed to hiding behind paper thin walls of morality.