We’re hurting trans kids by taking away their parents


Beck Iannucci

TW: suicide, mental health, gender dysphoria

Across the world, supportive parents are being labeled as abusive and losing their children. Laws are being pushed forward that make it illegal to support a trans child. These laws would rather reward parents that bring hatred to their kids lives instead of love. Let’s explore why their reasoning for such laws are against science and remind ourselves how important family is.

These laws are tied to the notion that gender therapy and medical treatment are harming children. First, let’s tackle the basics of what makes a person trans and the science research behind these powerful feelings. Dr. Murat Altinay says: “The brain and the body can go in different directions,” Dr. Altinay says. “Gender is not only in our genitalia; there’s something in the brain that determines gender.” This brain difference has been studied with cis people in the past. It was proven that cis men and cis women have different brain structures. When looking at the brain of a trans person, they have a brain that resembles their gender identity. For example, a trans woman has characteristics of a woman’s brain. This study is incredibly important because it not only proves that science isn’t against trans people, but also why trans people know their identity at such a young age. To prove this even further, researchers conducted a large scale study, comparing 317 trans kids (ages 3-12) to 316 cis kids — along with cis siblings. Kids chose toys that were stereotypically assigned with their gender identity.  For example, a trans girl chose a doll to play with or a trans boy chose trucks. The important piece of this is that not all of these children were living as freely as they would have liked. Some kids were still having their assigned gender enforced on them when in public, yet it didn’t change how they feel. This disproves the idea that trans kids are influenced by the media or become trans because of their surroundings. These studies prove that science has always supported trans people and that trans youth know who they are. So why would talking about their experiences to a therapist or getting medical treatment be harmful?

Secondly, let’s discuss how medical treatment has actually saves trans lives by explaining how these procedures positively impact mental health. You may have heard the term gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria refers to an uncomfortable feeling with your assigned sex. This can be difficulty coming to terms with what your body looks like or feeling gross in clothes typically associated with your birth gender. Remember that everyone’s experience with gender dysphoria is different. On the other side of the spectrum we have gender euphoria. Gender euphoria  is the exact opposite of gender dysphoria. If you feel gender euphoria, then you overall feel comfortable with yourself. This could be seeing your body for the first time after a gender affirming surgery, seeing yourself in a binder or a dress, the happiness with hearing your real name, or even getting the haircut you want. Gender euphoria is a feeling of happiness with yourself and how other people perceive you. A study was conducted that followed trans people after getting a surgery, estrogen, or testosterone and saw how their mental health decreased or increased. The study found that after receiving affirming care, every year the odds of a trans person needing mental health treatment went down by 8% every year. With the knowledge of this 8%, we should continue to support trans individuals. 40% of trans adults have attempted suicide, with 92% of those attempts being before the age of 25. So is affirming care at a young age really that bad?

Now that you know why we should support the youth, I want you to think about your own family. Arkansas, one of the states wanting to remove trans kids from supportive parents, jailed a parent for speaking out against this bill. On April 29, 2021, Chris Attig urged Arkansas to reconsider the bill. They were kicked out after going thirty seconds over their allotted time, while queer hate groups were given unallotted time. Attig is a parent not only trying to protect their own son, but also the other trans kids in Arkansas. Clearly, the court is extremely biased and as these laws continue to be pushed, the youth will be forced to watch as their families are stripped from them. It’s cruel and inhumane. We need to fight to keep families together as these bills pop up. Let lawmakers know how you feel. Start petitions and speak out against laws that villainize parents and remove healthcare from trans youth.