As a parent of a Trans son, I am devastated to learn of yet another state making gender affirming care nearly impossible for youth under the Transgender umbrella to grasp. LGBTQ San Diego County News’ contributing author Connor Maddox reports in this month’s issue on the many states who have been falling in line to ban gender-affirming care or develop anti-trans legislation.
On Saturday January 28, 2023, Utah’s Governor Cox, who last year vetoed a similar bill, signed an even harsher one just one day after it landed on his desk. The decision, he announced, was due to the need that more scientific research on gender-affirming treatments needs to be done. It is upsetting that the conservative religious extremists that are pushing the need for scientific research are the ones that usually don’t trust science at all.
Connor is absolutely right about being careful where you choose to live when you have a child in transition and that we need to stay vigilant about our elected officials if we want to ensure that our children remain safe in so-called safe states. So, parents of LGBTQ+ children need to come together and utilize our resources to speak out. Last month I discussed how to be an ally, and right now this is one way to do just that.
Just because California offers protective laws for our children does not mean the work is over. It took a lot of work to get where we are in safe states today, but there are still conservative agendas out there looking for weak links to undo a half century of activism that stemmed from trauma and discrimination that the older generations in the community sacrificed for our children so they can be destigmatized.
If you have a child who is Queer or questioning, under the Trans umbrella, Gay, Bisexual, or you know of a family learning about their children’s sexuality and gender identity please reach out to the local PFLAG. In San Diego there are monthly PFLAG support groups. Their website is updated with current meeting times and places @ pflag.com:
North County Coastal Support Group, northcountyco[email protected] (first Monday of the month from 6:30-8:30 pm)
South Bay and Imperial Valley Support Group, south[email protected] (third Thursday of the month from 7:00-8:30 pm)
San Diego Metro and East County Support Groups have merged for the time-being, m[email protected] (fourth Monday of the month from 7:00-8:30 pm)
AAPI Support Group (Asian, Pacific Islander or South Asian heritage or affiliation), while the PFLAG SDC chapter is not currently meeting, you can attend the San Gabriel Valley PFLAG AAPI Support Group (fourth Sunday of the month from 3:00-5:00 pm) or PFLAG National: pflag.org/connects/communities/aapi (second Saturday of the month from 3:00-5:00pm PST)
If your child is not feeling safe at their school or anywhere else, consider if there is an opportunity to reach out to PFLAG to learn about their Speaker’s Bureau. PFLAG SDC’s Speakers Bureau is a voice in the community that at no charge, provides trained and dedicated PFLAG SDC members to speak at school, college and university classrooms, businesses, community organizations, and other groups to share their experiences, answer any questions and raise awareness regarding diversity issues. This type of education and advocacy needs to be ongoing like a broken record if we are going to educate those who continue to stigmatize our youth.
Our Queer youth should feel safe, but we continue to be reminded of the lack of education and the political agendas that are meant to break down peace and isolate our young people. If your child has been so lucky to have grown up in an oasis of acceptance and love, they may not be prepared to know what’s coming. Decide when it is right for your family to have the talk about harsh environment outside of the oasis and the possibility of it infecting their bubble. For example, in Utah for one, Transgender girls cannot compete in sports. Does this have the possibility of affecting where our kids want to go to college? Absolutely! What about Transgender athletes that want to compete outside the safe state with protective laws that they live in? These are questions that have not completely been answered.
If your child feels the stigma of this infectious anti-Transgender legislation then check in with them and help them find support groups, mental health resources, or provide an opportunity for them to let out their frustrations in a safe place.
Half of all Transgender people are between 13 and 25 years old, and this number is increasing at an astonishing rate. We need more allies on board. We need improved education. We need schools to recognize our children’s needs and foster safe environments for our children to grow. We need this anti-Trans legislation to stop so that our children can have a normal life free from stigma. I hope all parents find it in them to do at least one affirming action to show their kids that they are their ally in the wake of all of this so that they feel supported and see the person they look up to the most responding to this devastating outbreak of anti-Trans laws flooding this country so at least in our homes our children will know they are safe and that there is nothing wrong with them!