In response to the wave of anti-trans sentiment and legislation, it’s important to be an ally in any way you can
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Content warning: this article contains discussions of transphobia.
Editor’s note: This article reflects the views held by the majority of the Editorial Board.
Recent backlash from a Davis Parent University event that featured a co-author of the book “The Transgender Child,” Rachel Pepper, has sparked local conversations about trans-youth. The event was moved online due to concerns for the safety of the speakers and those in attendance because of public pushback. These kinds of protests, regardless of the intent, make trans-youth feel unwelcome and endangered and serve as a stark reminder of the prevalence of transphobia, even in a predominantly liberal community like Davis.
Beyond our community, there has been a recent wave of anti-trans bills across the U.S. Florida is one of many states that is trying to ban gender-affirming healthcare for children. While Gov. Ron DeSantis has expressed his support for these regulations, the state is specifically restricting the use of puberty blockers, which delay physical changes that do not align with an individual’s gender, through a decision from the state’s medical board.
And while there haven’t been many large-scale studies done on puberty blockers yet, many U.S. medical associations, including the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, support the use of puberty blockers. Based on the studies we do have, gender-affirming healthcare like puberty blockers has been found to be not only safe but also effective in combating gender dysphoria, which has been linked to depression and anxiety.
While it’s understandable that people have questions or concerns about the use of hormone blockers for younger children, it is important to educate yourself on gender-affirming care so that you can identify when information is being used to justify transphobia and violence, rather than to raise a genuine medical concern.
The Editorial Board stands with transgender and non-binary communities and especially the young people affected by anti-trans legislation; we affirm their right to express who they are, and we urge you to do the same. And to the transgender and non-binary communities at Davis, we see you and we stand with you.
While we in California have little to no impact on other states’ legislation, there are still ways we can better support transgender and non-binary youth in our community. It might seem like the bare minimum (because it is), but studies show the benefit of using someone’s preferred pronouns and name. Allowing all children to explore and express themselves is vital to their development.
We also encourage you to have conversations with your friends or family who might not know as much about it as you. It can be overwhelming to talk to others who may think differently from you; but if we don’t have these important conversations, those who hold transphobic viewpoints will continue to perpetuate harm against trans communities. An aspect to point out to them is the difference between sex and gender. While this distinction might be very clear to us, it might not be to everyone. And if you aren’t very knowledgeable about how to be an ally to trans people, we encourage you to learn more about transition care and anti-trans legislation.
And when it comes to policy, it might be easier to stay informed about national legislation and news, but it is just as important, if not more so, to keep up to date with local politics, especially school board meetings. School boards are responsible for protecting children’s education and well-being, so it is crucial to be aware of the environment they are fostering.
In Davis, there are local organizations that you can support that are actively advocating for transgender and non-binary youth and attempting to make Davis a more inclusive town. Yolo Rainbow Families is a community organization that is composed of parents and caregivers advocating for LGBTQIA+ kids in Davis as well as Yolo County. They also host the “Davis Queer Teen Group,” a safe space for LGBTQIA+ teens in the community. These groups are projects by the Davis Phoenix Coalition, which you can donate to on their website as well as volunteer.
Transgender and non-binary youth are actively being discriminated against and need not just our love and support, but our actions, too; while we can’t singlehandedly solve everything, we can always do something, even if that simply means being the best ally you can be.
Written by: The Editorial Board