Provided by the Beacon Youth Group
Because of Beacon, my school’s GSA, and the simple fact that queer kids tend to gravitate towards each other like penguins huddling for warmth in a cold, oppressive environment, a large portion of my friends also identify somewhere along the lines of trans and/or non-binary. And I’m not going to lie, I’m scared.
I’m scared for myself, and I’m more scared for them. We live in a culture that swings between radical acceptance and brutal hatred, and you never know what will come from who. People who you’ve known for years can turn on you the second they hear of your identity. Being a trans kid in the midst of all that is frankly terrifying at times.
Sure, we try to change it. Some ignore it, some get loud, but some can’t take it. Trans youth are committing suicide at epidemic rates. I live every day knowing someone I love could take their own life or have it taken from them.
A lot of people seem to be of the opinion that silly bathroom laws couldn’t possibly have any effect on how trans kids are treated, but that is simply not the case. These laws are just one more display of how lawmakers don’t think we deserve safety. They are prioritizing the theoretical emotional damage of cisgender kids over the very much real danger that trans students face when forced to delegitimize their own identity. In trying to protect other students, legislation like this puts some of the most vulnerable kids at an even higher risk.
I’m lucky enough to attend a school that values the safety of all students, not just the typical ones. I have never felt unsafe in the bathroom, in class, or even walking down the hallway. But this is a reality that many trans students in Kansas simply don’t experience.
I don’t want to live in a state that treats youth as if they are nothing, or worse, as if they are tools that can be manipulated for political gain. Trans youth are just as important as everyone else, and we deserve to be treated with respect.
People often say that children are the future. It’s a bit cliché, but clichés don’t originate from nowhere. If you want a future that is strong, a future that shines so bright you can see it from where we are now, a future full of people who fight to make change happen, then you will see the importance of protecting this generation, MY generation, from the violent actions of this legislature. We are the change we wish to see. I’m going to protect that change. Will you? l