My Existence is Not a Debate

Luís Escobar, online publishing coordinator

Being trans in the United States has become the equivalent to putting a crosshair on your back. You have heard about us in news stories. You’ve heard that we are groomers, perverts, extremists with an agenda. I and many others are none of those things. We are your peers, your server, someone who would let you borrow a charger. We are similar, yet identify differently. And because of that difference, people choose to debate if we are allowed to live. They seek to force us to fit their mindset, punish us for looking different and murder us for the crime of being present. 

This year alone, there has been an unprecedented amount of legislation – 70 anti-LGBT+ laws have been enacted. Twenty-two specifically target transgender youth in schools, leaving these students vulnerable to being outed publically, misgendered without repercussions and banned from any gender affirming care. The effects of these bills rippled to trans adults, restricting their access to vital care. Primary Care Providers face obstacles to even get access to medical treatments and risk having their medical license revoked along with a threat of jail-time for providing trans healthcare outside state restrictions. How can a country that claims to be the land of the free limit the freedom for their own children? 

Removing the rights of trans youth isn’t just removing our right to be ourselves, but the right for many of us to live. Gender dysphoria ranges from very uncomfortable to absolutely crippling and debilitating to one’s mental health. And with those that identify outside of the spectrum of man or woman, public perception can be even more challenging. Youth are especially vulnerable to these onslaughts. Many experience thoughts of isolation and depression. What’s so heartbreaking: many consider taking their own lives. It is agonizing. 

Outside of legislation, there has been a tidal wave of hate for trans people in the United States. In February, a trans woman was violently attacked. Daring to be out in public is a threat to our lives and we know we aren’t protected by the police because they’ve taken part in harassing us as well, singling us out for violence and denying us of our rights. In Los Angeles the sheriff had continuously beaten a trans man. Instead of punishing the sheriff for beating a man nearly to death, Emmet Brock, the man who was assaulted, is the one that lost their teaching job and is now facing misdemeanors. These are just the stories that are made visible. Daily, we are misgendered, verbally harassed, threatened with our lives and with violence, assaulted and everything in between, leading to the loss of life. Trans life.

Our existence is not something that should be debated, treated as entertainment. Real lives, the lives of my trans siblings across the globe are being forced to hide, protect ourselves while people of a different time and generation force their beliefs down the throats of the public. We are not here to harm you, force you to transition, turn your kids into something unrecognizable. We just want to live and enjoy the world as the rest of you do.