Supports for Trans Youth and Their Families (and a few words for everybody else)
It's been less than a year since I wrote a blog post like this.
In that time, there has been an increased wave of right-wing attacks on trans youth at the state level, trying to ban young trans people from sports, trying to ban trans stories from shelves, trying to revoke your access to medical care, and even threatening to separate trans-supportive parents from their kids for being supportive.
It's unconscionable, inhumane, and it's not slowing down. Whether you're trans yourself, a parent of family member of a trans person or people, have trans friends or just generally care about all trans people, you may be feeling all kinds of ways, from rage to terror, and every last one of those feelings is understandable. I put this blog together to offer resources and supports to help you get through all this in whatever way you can.
Before we talk about anything else, know that if everything going on is weighing on your wellbeing and mental health, there are spaces out there where you can be heard, safe, and affirmed.
Here are a few resources to start with if you need support right now:
- Our direct services here at Scarleteen (you can also always ask us for help finding in-person trans services)
- Trans Lifeline
- Trans Peer Network
- TBuddy (peer support for transmasc folks)
- Gender Spectrum
- LGBT Youth Talkline
- Trans Youth Equality Foundation Zoom support groups.
- This Isn't Going to Be Your Forever: Tips for Queer Youth Stuck at Home with Trans- and Homophobic Parents
- This thread on Trans Joy in case you need a reminder from trans adults that your existence isn't an inherently tragic thing.
Fighting for Your Rights As a Trans Person
I want to make one thing incredibly clear: in a fair world, this would not be your job. There would not be adults using the existence, wellbeing, and literal trans lives, as political game pieces. And in the event they did, the adults around trans youth would rise up en masse and stop them, without being forced to expose those youth and themselves to even more hate, just for asking for a little humanity.
We're not living in that world. And if what you can manage right now is just getting through the day, that's a triumph in and of yourself. When they're trying to erase your existence, continuing to exist is quite the F-you.
If you have the energy for it, you still have the ability to fight back. Youth in Arizona stopped anti-trans legislation in their state. Trans activists, including young people, helped secure the injunction against the govenor's order in Texas. So, while change may feel impossible at times, there's concrete proof that you can make a difference. Here are two tools to get you started.
- Know Your Rights in School
- Track anti-trans legislation and find out who to contact to speak out against it
For Parents and Guardians
First: thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for providing safe and loving homes for the young people in your lives. I am immensely angry on your behalf that doing the right thing has put you in the crosshairs of anti-trans policies. I can only imagine how frightening it is to think someone might take your child away from you. While the fact that an injuction halted the order in Texas is a relief -- and a sign that similar policies may meet the same fate -- the existence of such an order in the first place is terrifying.
With that in mind, I've compiled some starter resources to help you out if you're in a state where the parents and gaurdians of trans youth are being targeted with accusations of child abuse. These can help you make sense of the laws as they change, give you tools to defend your family, and help you plan for worst-case scenarios.
- Transgender Law Center Legal Help Desk
- Fact Sheet and Legal Help for Parents of Trans Youth in Texas
- How to Build a Safe Folder
- Trans Family Network
- Emergency Grants for Families of Trans Youth in Texas
- Advocacy resources from TransParent
For Everyone Else
Cis people, if ever there was a time to step up, the time is now. Some of you have been in this fight awhile, others are just learning of it through the latest batch of bigoted bills. Either way, I urge you to find concrete ways that you can help trans youth and their families. Whether what you have to offer is time, energy, money, or something else entirely, the following list has some options to help you get started.
Ways you Can Help
- Trans Family Support Network
- Step Up for Trans Kids
- Donate to Trans Justice Projects in Your State
- Debunking Anti-Trans Talking Points
- If you live in any of these states, contact your representatives and voice your disapproval of anti-trans bills.
- Read these books
- Supporting Trans Friends in Crisis
- Get involved in local politics so you can be an advocate for trans youth in your community.
- If you work in children and family services, there is some federal guidance on how to use various provisions within policies to protect trans youth in states with anti-trans legislation.
- If you're in a profession, such as healthcare, social work, or education, that anti-trans legislation is trying to use to out trans youth, deny them care, or remove them from loving families, it's time to decide what you're willing to do to avoid being a tool of harm. What are the work-arounds and loop-holes that you can use to protect trans youth? And what professional risks are you willing to take to resist harmful policies?