By Anya Rothman-Cimino, age 11
Recently, legislatures across the country have been slowly but surely taking away trans youths’ rights. According to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, approximately 450 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced already this year. During an interview on The Daily Show, President Joe Biden spoke out against the anti-trans bills in Florida, saying, “What’s going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, close to sinful.”
Florida has been aggressively targeting trans rights for some time now, including introducing anti-trans bathroom bills, attacking their healthcare and threatening to strip parental rights from parents who support transgender children through transitions. “The same leaders that tout freedom,” said Jean-Pierre of the Florida House in a press release, “apparently don’t extend their love for freedom if they disagree with who you are, who you love, or how you parent.”
Around 2% of young people under the age of 17 in the United States identify as trans, which equates to approximately 1.3 million people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Transgender kids are three times as likely to experience severe mental health issues, depression and anxiety than their cisgender peers. According to data collected in 2020 by The Trevor Project, 61% of trans and nonbinary middle and high school students reported being bullied in the prior year—the highest rate of all LGBTQ+ students surveyed. Only 27% of trans kids say their families are very supportive of their gender identity, and just 12% say that their school or district has policies that support them.
However, trans students that have supportive families experience a 52% decrease in severe mental illnesses and have higher self-esteem, according to information from a coalition that includes the Biden Foundation. We can all work toward helping our trans friends and peers feel supported every day. It is important to use correct pronouns, allow kids to use the bathroom they feel comfortable in, and call them by their chosen name. Teachers can show support in classrooms by introducing LGBTQ+ positive reading materials, movies and history to their classes. Trans kids deserve to thrive and feel the support of their allies.