I have been so completely blessed to grow up in the place that I have with the people that have surrounded me. Yet despite the tremendous support I have received, there have been times where life itself has seemed unlivable. So I cannot even begin to imagine what is to come for trans students that do not receive support from the people in their lives and will now not have the guarantee of being able to do something as simple as using the bathroom. The effect that this will have on young individuals will no doubt be absolutely traumatic. And while my tone may be coming off as relatively sad, don’t be fooled.
I am not sad.
I am furious.
The mere idea of a civil rights movement being founded off of people using the bathroom that suits them has bewildered me from the beginning. And the idea that this topic is still highly controversial to this day, bewilders me even more.
But this isn’t just about the bathrooms, it is about our right to be seen in public for who we are. It is about our government telling the young people of this country that they are not as valued as others because of the things they can’t change about themselves.
It is absolutely cruel, even for trump.
And I am not sure many understand the effect that this will have on young transgender students. So I have taken the liberty to express just how tragic this situation could be.
About two years ago when I was a junior in high school, I attended a meeting at district 211 to decide on whether a transgender student would be allowed to change in the locker room that they felt comfortable in. It was an open meeting with speakers from both sides, and I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that the whole town was there.
It was the most incredible thing I had seen, a whole district united in hatred.
An old man yelling bible verses was escorted out by police officers, there were multiple accounts of concerned students not wanting to be seen by a trans person while changing (don’t flatter yourself honey), and nearly everyone from the opposing side brought up the student’s genitalia at some point in their argument.
After feeling my soul die several times, the board finally concluded that they would let the trans student change in the locker room that the student preferred. However, it became clear to me that the decision was never really up for grabs because the school would be threatening their federal funding had they resisted to let the student choose.
It was my first time ever being exposed to anything of that magnitude, or any type of hate in general, and I realized just how lucky I was.
I remember lying in bed that night crying and reflecting on the awful comments that I had heard that night. I tried to imagine being that student and having the whole district meet on my behalf. Having fully grown adults talk about my genitalia as if that would ever be acceptable if I was cisgender.
Trying to put myself in the place of that student was rather unbearable.
And as I laid there reflecting upon the night, I couldn’t help think about what would have happened had federal funding not been on the line.
And this week as trump repealed the only thing that kept many schools from banning trans students from using the locker room and bathroom that align with their gender identity, I was reminded of that student from district 211.
The thought that others will and have already been treated like that is something that brings up the most toxic of anger in me.
I am scared for my community. For the possibly destructive responses to the repeal by trans youth. But even more, I am furious.
If you think for a second that we will go quietly.
That we will sit back and watch our community suffer.
That we will let trans students be denied basic rights.
Then you are in for it.
For this is just the beginning.