“I don’t know what makes them so mean.” When Daniel, her 8-year-old son, came home from school one day upset that a young classmate was being picked on, he told his mother those words.
Trujillo took the chance to teach a lesson about the difference between empathy and sympathy. But Daniel, who is transgender, said, “Mom, I think God made me this way on purpose, so I can be empathetic and teach empathy.”
Even though it’s been seven years, Trujillo still thinks about that moment. This is especially true now when conservatives are making a lot of noise about the rights of transgender and nonbinary youth, even for something as basic as health care. Trujillo said, “What we lack in this world is compassion.”
Health Care Is At The Centre Of Transgender Awareness Week
Transgender Awareness Week, which started on Sunday, brings more attention to the 1.6 million transgender people in the U.S. and brings attention to the problems they face. Care for youths that are gender-affirming has been at the top of that list.
The Williams Institute says that by 2022, at least 15 states will have passed or thought about passing laws that would make it harder to get gender-affirming care. Some of the bills have penalties for people who work in health care and even for families.
At the request of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s medical boards approved a rule this month that would make it illegal for transgender people under 18 to get hormones or surgery to treat gender dysphoria.
Last spring, Trujillo’s home state of Arizona made it harder for minors to get the care that fits their gender identity. She said that the bias her 15-year-old son Daniel faces comes from the fact that his state lawmakers are trying to get rid of him through their laws.
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She said, “There are so many stories about gender-affirming health care.” “What isn’t being said is why this is a big topic of debate.”
How Do You Talk About The Lives Of Happy Kids?
Jen Grosshandler, co-founder and executive director of the GenderCool Project, a youth-led group that works to replace misinformed opinions with the real experiences of transgender and nonbinary youths, said that lawmakers who try to pass laws that hurt young people don’t speak for most of the country.
She said that most people don’t want to get in the way of how other people raise their children, especially when it comes to the physical and mental health of a child.
“Should transgender children be able to get care or not? Grosshandler said that most people in the U.S. don’t care about this conversation. “So why on earth are we even having this conversation?”
She said that politicians are using their power to “make up nonsense” about how families can raise good, solid kids. “There’s no debate. How do you argue about the lives of happy kids, doing well in school, helping their community, learning multiple musical instruments, going to college, and building amazing lives?
Trujillo says that some lawmakers “don’t care about our children’s health care. They are trying to use this as a wedge issue to win elections.”
What Exactly Is Gender-affirming Care?
Gender-affirming care is a term for “highly individualized” medical care, according to Dr Kellan Baker, executive director of the Whitman-Walker Institute. “There is no one method to approach gender affirmation.” Everyone’s requirements are unique.”
He described social transitions as “changing a haircut, using different pronouns, or wearing different clothes.” He believes that medical care, including hormone therapy, is critical. Puberty-delaying medications, which are reversible, allowing youths to explore their identity “free of a ticking clock,” according to Baker.
Supporters of proposals to limit care frequently claim that they are saving young people from regret later in life. “The main goal is to prevent regret by giving them time,” Baker says. Not doing so is especially harsh.”
Major medical organizations, ranging from the American Medical Association to the American Psychiatric Association, have recently come out in support of gender-affirming care and against bills that criminalise it.
There Is A Big Cost To Mental Health When Care Is Limited Or Banned
Even the discussion of potentially detrimental legislation can be hazardous to the physical health of young people who already feel vulnerable, according to Baker. This can lead to an increase in stress levels, put a strain on cardiovascular systems, and produce inflammatory responses.
The mental toll is significant as well: “You are watching people in authority in society arguing about whether you deserve access to the basic building blocks of who you are trying to become,” he added. “The mental toll is substantial.”
Kasey Suffredini, vice president of advocacy and government affairs for the Trevor Project, which offers crisis and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ people under the age of 25, stated that gender-affirming care is “not provided on a whim as it might be portrayed sometimes.” The Trevor Project helps LGBTQ people under the age of 25.
He referred to increased rates of sadness, anxiety, and even suicidal ideation as “hazardous” outcomes of withholding care, calling it a “destructive” practice overall.
In recent polls conducted by the Trevor Project, statistics back up those concerns:
• Ninety-three per cent of transgender and nonbinary young people who responded to the survey said they have worried about transgender people being denied access to gender-affirming care as a result of state or local laws.
• Recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender and nonbinary young people have reportedly hurt the mental health of 85 per cent of these young people.
• Seventy-three per cent of transgender and nonbinary young people report feeling angry, 57 per cent sad, 47 per cent stressed, and 40 per cent scared in response to proposed legislation that would prohibit doctors from prescribing gender-affirming medical care.
Suffredini advised everyone to “take a deep breath and apply a little bit more of their common sense” in light of the current predicament. “Physicians, not politicians, should be in charge of making choices on medical care. The care has a solid foundation and strong backing.”
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Kids Who Are Transgender Are Doing Well In Their Communities
Daniel, a freshman in high school, is one of GenderCool’s 20 “champions.” Champions are the faces of a movement that illustrates how trans and non-binary youths are continuing to flourish, and Daniel is one of those faces.
According to Trujillo, he is skilled on the drums and guitar, is a fan of Minecraft, makes stop-motion movies, and “loves to construct things and tell stories.” “My child has a wonderful balance of being thoughtful, compassionate, and hilarious.”
In September, Governor Gavin Newsom of California signed a bill into law that will provide transgender children with a haven from potentially detrimental legislation in other jurisdictions, such as laws that prohibit or restrict access to medical care.
“I often tell people who ask why we shouldn’t just move that it is not normal in the United States of America that a family should have to flee to a safer state,” Trujillo said. “I tell them that it is not normal in the United States of America that a family should have to flee to a safer state.”
She claimed that Daniel has “a complete existence” and that he is loved and acknowledged by others. If we were forced to leave Arizona, we would incur more losses than gains.
Chazz, Grosshandler’s 16-year-old son, is described as “a happy, kind, and confident kid who is a leader in our town and community.” Grosshandler is the mother of four children, including Chazzie, who “happens to be trans.” She stated that the family is really lucky to be residing in the state of Illinois, which has elected representatives that believe in fundamental human rights.
According to Grosshandler, they get together for meals several times a week, and the topics of conversation often centre on how important it is to be kind to others and how to navigate life in a way that does not hurt but rather helps people.
She stated that “we talk about these angry guys” when discussing the people who are behind measures that target transgender youths. What kind of atmosphere does their dining table have?
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