The campaign against identity

Recent legislation around the U.S. effects young LGBTQ+ people — and the trans community the hardest


Andrej Ivanov / AFP via Getty Images / TNS

A person holds a sign reading “Protect Trans People” as LGBTQ activists protest on March 17, 2023, in front of the US Consulate in Montreal, Canada, calling for transgender and non-binary people be admitted into Canada. – According to police services, some 200 people gathered in the rain to show support for the trans community in the United States.

Alayna Majkrzak, Features Editor

Law after law gets the stamp of approval. From Florida to Tennessee to Utah, bills are being passed that harm the LGBTQ+ community in one way or another. Some of the bills target all LGBTQ+ people, but currently the transgender community is being hit with one bill after another.

Since before 2023 started, bills were proposed that are directly going against the LGBTQ+ community. Though there have been bills proposed before this year, 2023 has seen a rise in the amount anti-LGBTQ+ laws hitting the United States. The Human Rights Campaign has been keeping track of these proposed and passed bills, and according to the HRC there have been 340 proposed anti-LGBTQ bills in the US in 2023 alone. Not only that, but 150 of them are targeting transgender people.

Many of the laws that have been passed, or that people are trying to get passed are explicitly restricting gender affirming care for minors. This includes things like puberty blockers which buys a young person who is questioning their gender more time to question their identity without the looming consequences and irreversible effects that puberty can have. Not only that, but gender affirming care also includes hormone replacement therapy. These things can be life saving, especially for young people who experience large amounts of gender dysphoria. 

Many people, whether they are in the LGBTQ+ community or not, are concerned for the mental and physical health of transgender people. For many, the availability of gender affirming care like hormones can be life saving. 

Norah,* a student at MCHS who is transgender states, “Dysphoria is one of the primary causes of trans youth depression and suicide and removing the ability to treat that dysphoria fundamentally is essentially a death sentence to many trans youth.”

In light of the anti-trans laws that are being passed and proposed all over the United States, there seems to be more at stake for transgender youth. Banning gender affirming care may not only tarnish the mental and emotional health of those denied care, but it also denies youth the experience of living their life as they feel.

KM,** a transgender student at MCHS states, “The new anti-trans care laws will absolutely tarnish the mental and physical health of trans youth. [they] will never have a chance of being themselves. it’s disheartening to hear that in so many states kids can actually be themselves without being persecuted”

Anti-trans laws are being passed in states such as Missouri and Florida, threatening the ability of young people to express themselves go further than just banning gender affirming care. Some states have gone to the point of including parents in their anti-trans legislation by being able to strip them of parental rights if they support their transgender child. 

“In some states parents who are supportive of their kids could have their kids taken from them,” KM states. “Imagine having your kid taken away because you gave them glasses. Trans care is as important if not more important.”

Even in Illinois, a state where no anti-trans legislation has been passed, transgender people still feel the effects. The LGBTQ+ community as a whole feels the effect of the legislation being passed; it especially affects trans youth even in place’s where explicit laws have not been passed. 

These laws make me depressed. I am angry beyond belief and I feel hopeless as a citizen of the United states,” Norah states. “I thought our government was meant to protect us, but it seems they only care about controlling minority voices and putting everyone they consider ‘other’ down.” 

Being in the United States in a time when many anti-trans laws are being passed is hard for people who are a part of that community. It is tiring for transgender people to constantly be fighting for their voices to be heard with massive amounts of hate around them. Whether or not laws are passed in their state all trans people are affected by this legislation, and they can’t always fight on their own. 

“LGBTQ rights are human rights, and I think all people should be outraged when human rights are violated,” Norah states. “The cis-het voice is stronger in the government than ours, they can bring the change we need if they support us, and we can be stronger with allies that really care.” 

Transgender people in the United States are currently facing daily battles against not only the people in their towns but their state governments as well. Youth within the trans community feel the effects of this legislation, even if their state hasn’t passed any anti-LGBTQ+ laws. These stamps of approval on bills that harm transgender people continue to pile up, making it hard for trans people to feel protected in their own towns. 

* Norah’s last name has not been included in this article at her request

**Only KM’s initials are being used in this article at her request