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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Misconception of Transgenderism and Children

The words “transgender” and “child” within the same sentence seem to give certain individuals a heart attack. There is an extreme fear of even the thought of a transgender child, or children being exposed to gender ideology that differs from the norm. 

The excuse behind most transphobic beliefs is the misconception that supporting the exploration of gender directly correlates with harming children. It’s believed that transgenderism somehow sexualizes kids, or that those that are trans (specifically transwomen) use the claim that they are trans to prey on children through better access to bathrooms. 

Most importantly, this exaggerated terror of transgenderism comes from a fear of change and the fear of the “norm” becoming “twisted”. 

Certain anti-transgender groups are scared that exposure to trans individuals will inspire children to go down a road that may have permanent effects on them.

The other day I had a conversation with a person who was very concerned about this and believed it was not right for “12-year-olds to have access to hormone blockers, but not get tattoos”. 

When I began to question him about this topic, he completely shut it down and chose to ignore me. 

There are many reasons why this specific argument is unusual, and also shows insight into the adversity towards transgenderism. 

12-year-olds do not have easy access to hormone blockers, at least in the U.S., and to do so must first go through multiple tests on top of parental consent. If under the age of 19, a medical professional must confirm that the minor experienced a long period of gender dysphoria, the feeling of being within the wrong gendered body.

Also, fundamentally, a tattoo and a gender-affirming procedure are completely different. A tattoo is something that is for entertainment, while hormone medication can be life-saving. 

Yes, of course, tattoos are just as permanent as gender-affirming procedures, but tattoos will never equate to the relief that these procedures can provide for transgender people. 

Research done by Economist Duc Hien Nguyen at the University of Massachusetts shows just how impactful receiving care within younger years can be on a teenager. 

“Initiation of HRT is associated with a 14.4 [percent] decrease in the risk of ever attempting suicide if treatment started between the ages of 14 and 17. This benefit was largest when HRT was started at age 14 or 15,” said the University of Massachusetts based on Nguyen’s findings. 

The worry regarding gender-affirming procedures is that children will go down a route that is difficult to erase or reverse, which is not completely irrational. Hormone blockers or gender-affirming surgery result in very acute changes to one’s body, and it can be very difficult to undo the changes. 

However, this is exactly why there are many steps before any minor can have access to anything that can drastically change their biological chemistry. 

In reality, the real fear is incompatibility with the progression of change. Those that hold typically transphobic ideology disguise their ignorance and their unwillingness to learn by claiming that they are only “thinking of the children”. 

This deep-rooted hatred is especially important right now, as in the U.S. many anti-trans bills-specifically harming trans children-are included in our current legislative session. 

There is more emphasis on ridding minors of the right to gender expression than there is on the extreme bullying that some of these children experience from other students. 

Our goal as a society should not be to restrict creative expression and exploration, but to protect the right to do so–as the U.S. is built on. And the illegalization of this completely disregards the morals that America is built on. 

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