Children deserve to live unless they’re a minority?

How does this make sense?

Everyone deserves a world where they can be happy and safe.
Micheile Henderson via Unsplash | Photo Courtesy

The year is 2024. The Stonewall riots happened in 1969, the NOH8 campaign was created in 2009, and gay marriage was legalized in 2015. So many things have happened over approximately a century, starting with rights for people of color, then for women, and then for queer people. Of course, nothing is perfect and oppression of minorities is unfortunately still a common issue. However, one of the biggest issues right now is the oppression of transgender people.

Everyone has heard about the discourse over trans women in sports. They’re accused of being men disguised as women in an attempt to cheat or just oppress women further. People have been accusing them of taking over women’s sports with their intrinsic male superiority, which has a lot to say about how we still view women in society. We still see women as inferior to men, just biologically weaker and less athletic. It’s been compared to cultural appropriation, inappropriately pretending to be in a costume that disrespects the culture that is womanhood. Cultural appropriation, however, is nothing like being a trans woman, so it’s bizarre that people see it as anything similar to that. Trans women are not men who are trying to hurt women or take their place in sports. Trans women are just women who felt uncomfortable in the body they were born in and want to be supported in their identity.

A great multitude of harmful anti-trans bills have been signed within recent years, which needs to stop. Last month in Oklahoma, 16-year-old nonbinary student, Nex Benedict, died from a hate crime because they were required to use the bathroom assigned with the sex on their birth certificate. A proposed Missouri bill would make it a felony for teachers or counselors to support transgender students and would be registered as a sex offender. This would leave some children with no support from anyone, and the support they get in school could ruin their teacher’s life. People who support them could face jail time, large fines, and not be able to be in the vicinity of children for 10-20 years. This is absurd. Everyone needs to mind their own business about other people’s choices that don’t affect them. Trans children are barely surviving, not able to get support as well as being unable to be affirmed in their identity.

You have to try to understand what it’s like to know something is wrong about yourself but not know what. To be forced into the untenable position of knowing that the way people perceive you and your identity is fundamentally untrue. To have to pretend you’re happy where you’re not. To know that you’re not the gender you were assigned, but no one else knows that. To have to hide something so big about yourself from your family because you don’t want them to stop loving you. Imagine knowing your assigned gender is “wrong,” but also being unable to present your gender in a way other people consider “correct.” Imagine finding out that you were something people hated. Feeling uncomfortable when other people talk about you, knowing you’re stuck in a body you can’t change.

Think about Nex Benedict. They were a child who had already been suffering from bullying due to their identity. They were assaulted and beaten until they passed out, and did not receive medical attention until they were home with their mother. Their death the next day was ruled a suicide. They were 16! If they were a cis straight student, would you care then? If they were “normal,” or attacked by classmates who belonged to a different minority?

If you saw a child being beaten and then found out they were trans, would you call someone? Would you get help? No is not an answer. This is wrong! Nex shouldn’t have been forced to be in a place that almost got them killed! They shouldn’t have felt like the only choice they had was to die. If your child didn’t feel safe doing something, you would care. Nex Benedict was someone’s child and they were a person, but people are now ignoring the assault they suffered because the cause of death was suicide. They never should have been in that position!

It’s 2024. We live in a world where there is virtual reality, where TVs are only an inch thick, where we carry a device that can communicate across the world, and where we can get anything in the world in a couple of clicks. How is it also a world where police hate people of color, where people don’t care about genocide, and where people think that children should die because of their identity? Children are denied education about identity and put into a society where bullying and hatred are encouraged. LGBTQ+ children are left with no safe place to go, especially if their parents are not supportive.

We have to do something. Get your shit together and start caring about the next generation. We won’t be alive forever, so our job is to make sure the world is a better place for future generations. 

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