“Hell on Earth:” The Impossible Decisions Facing Families of Trans Children in Hostile States
The emotional toll of uprooting their families is equally extreme. When Sarah first moved to Alabama, Rob had to go without testosterone for a while due to a mix-up in his medical records. His mother says she would break into a pharmacy before letting him go without the hormone; he describes those months as a blur, but she describes them as a deep depression. “I’ve had good days and bad days,” says Sarah, who had only recently moved her children to Alabama from Pennsylvania following a divorce. Rob, likewise, is deeply upset by what is happening in his condition right now. “A lot of people still think it’s the 50s,” he says. He adds that he doesn’t really care where his family moves to, as long as “it’s safe, people are nice to me and I can be myself and go to school like a normal kid. “.
According to Stacey Stevenson, CEO of Family Equality, more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ laws are still being proposed at different levels of government across the country in 2022. “People are risking everything and leaving their homes,” Stevenson says, “to save their lives. and save their children”. Angela Pinkston, a mom from Spanish Fort, Alabama, says it was irresponsible of lawmakers to even consider, let alone pass, this legislation. “A lot of kids will die from it either by taking DIY versions of their HRT or by their own hands,” Pinkson said. Their. “It’s between the parents, the doctors and the child, not the government.”
Pinkston doesn’t exaggerate the stakes involved. Eighty-six percent of trans youth have considered suicide and 56% have attempted suicide. Studies have also proven that access to gender-affirming care, such as puberty blockers and hormones, reduces suicidality by 73%, which literally means that this particular type of health care saves lives. Beyond these numbers, there is also the pain of being caught in the political crossfire and the daily hurt of being a teenager growing up in a state hostile to trans people.
At school, Cecil Pinkston, a 17-year-old student from Alabama, was repeatedly forced to use the girls’ bathroom, despite identifying as a man and coming out. of gender. This kind of hate has become an emotional burden, and lawmakers don’t seem to take it into account when crafting laws. “It was hell on earth realizing, ‘Wow, people really hate people like me,'” he says. He plans to leave the state to go to college if the health care ban comes back into effect. Although he has his heart set on going to the University of Alabama at Birmingham to become an anesthetist, he plans to move to Georgia instead.
Cass Crawford has a similar sentiment about how he is being received by conservatives in Texas. “I think I could be lying on the floor half dead and the only way to save myself would be if I wasn’t transphobic,” he says, “and I don’t think they would.”
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