To understand this article, it is important to understand the terms used. “Sex” is a term used to describe your genetic makeup (e.g. XX or XY chromosomes). “Gender” is a social construct to put people in groups or label them (e.g. boy, girl, non-binary, etc.). “Transgender” or “Trans” is a person who identifies as a gender different from their sex. “Cisgender” or “Cis” is a person who identifies with their birth sex.
SENATE BILL 354
A bill has recently been filed by Indiana Senator Jeff Raatz states that public schools should inform transgender students’ parents of a struggle with gender identity or expression. Raatz is quoted: “Senate Bill 354 simply requires school districts to notify a parent if their child has expressed conflicted feelings with gender identity or expression, as well as if the student asks to change their name, attire or title to one inconsistent with their biological sex at birth.” Though the bill may seem harmless, it can create many issues.
As a transgender student, I feel as if I’m qualified to speak on this issue. I successfully came out in late May of 2021, but it was a hassle to change my name in the system. The school had to meet with my mom, had to contact every teacher I had that year, and had to check in with me periodically to make sure things were going well. I was fortunate to have such an accepting support group, but others aren’t. Sending emails home to a parent who already knew of my name and pronoun switch wasn’t a danger, but for someone in a different situation? This can lead to genuine abuse and neglect from the family.
TRANS STUDENTS AT HIGHER RISK
According to AAP Pediatrics, a study done in August of 2021 about trans youth reported that 79% were psychologically abused, 39% were physically abused, and 19% were sexually abused. Compared to their cisgender peers, transgender students are at least 1.84 times more likely to be psychologically abused, 1.61 times more likely to be physically abused, and 2.04 times more likely to be sexually abused.
If this law passes, these numbers could rise.
Trans students take comfort in being called their name and pronouns. If their parents are unaccepting, their teachers are there to console them by using the correct name. If this law passes, it turns that consolation into condemnation. If the parents are informed of their child’s struggle with identity or expression, it can increase the number of trans youth suicides, runaways, and hospitalizations.
The number of trans youth who have considered suicide or attempted suicide are the highest among others (queer youth, general youth, abused youth, etc.). 82% of trans youth have contemplated suicide, and 40% have attempted. Whether you agree with this bill or not, this number is atrocious and devastating. If we don’t take these numbers into account, more lives will be lost.
We need to fight this recession in equality for all. This bill is promoting the death and further abuse of transgender youth, and it’s time to end it.