Why Transgender Children are Being Harmed, and What We Can Do to Help
By Anna Gilchrist | March 31, 2022
The rights of all children should be honored and respected in a free society such as in the United States. Unfortunately, the rights of transgendered children to live freely without fear is under attack by the very adults who are supposed to protect them.
Transgender children are young people who feel a strong identity connection toward a gender that does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Medical professionals refer to this disconnect as gender dysphoria - a condition that may cause distress or great suffering in the lives of transgender individuals. It usually becomes apparent at a young age when children don't have the words yet to express what they are feeling or experiencing.
In 2022, almost 240 new anti-LGBTQ+ laws have been introduced or successfully passed in multiple states in the US to prevent trans youth from receiving trans-specific healthcare, permission to participate in sports activities, or the use of a restroom or name that is better suited for their identity. For instance, in Texas, a federal judge placed a halt on a law signed by Governor Abbott that would punish parents of transgender children for "abusing" their children by loving them and supporting who they are.
The irony of such a law could not be more apparent; to force vulnerable children to pretend to be someone they are not for the sole purpose of quelling the discomfort or fear of others is not supportive but torturous, and so, in itself an abusive act.
To help these children, it will take us cisgendered adults speaking up against these fascist developments set to harm our young people. It will take us being vocal and us taking action in school board meetings, town hall meetings, and even at the voting polls. It will involve us introducing diverse children's literature with trans and gender non-conforming characters and stories to the younger generation so they feel seen and understood.
For Transgender Day of Visibility, let's seriously work to ensure our transgender and gender non-conforming youth feel supported and safe during these challenging times.
Anna Gilchrist is a children's author, youth rights advocate, and founder of Sandfish Publishing. She received her MFA in Childhood Studies at Swansea University and has published two children's books, both of which can be found on Amazon and her website. When she is not writing, she loves to spend her free time cooking gourmet meals, singing and dancing to 90's hits, and tending to her multiple plants in her New Jersey home.