Republicans Are 'Waging A War On My Family' Father Of Trans Kid Says
In the current landscape of American politics, it seems there's a faction of the Republican party that is hell-bent on pursuing an agenda of discrimination and exclusion. They've launched an all-out crusade against the rights and wellbeing of transgender Americans, and their efforts are gathering full speed. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has documented nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced this year alone. While not all of these bills have become law, many of them specifically target transgender individuals.
So far, in this year alone, a staggering 70 anti-trans bills have been passed across the nation. This week, Missouri joined the list of states embracing this trend. The state's Republican-led legislature passed a bill that, if signed into law by the Republican governor, would create a near-total ban on gender-affirming care for minors, irrespective of parental consent.
The impact of such legislation is heart-wrenching. One Missouri family, raising a 16-year-old transgender son, voiced their concerns, saying, "This is medical care that our son's doctors say he needs, that we, his parents, think he needs, and that he wants." They emphasized the importance of this care, underscoring the devastating reality that other kids might be denied access to it.
Missouri's officials did not stop there. They also passed legislation that would require schools to force transgender students to compete on athletic teams aligned with the gender they were assigned at birth. In response to this legislation, a board member of one of Missouri's largest school districts tearfully announced her resignation, along with plans to leave the state to protect her transgender child.
These bills are not just political maneuvering; they carry real and painful consequences. The lives of transgender children in Missouri are now subject to the whims of these Republican legislators. In many cases, they are granting politicians more power than parents have to make decisions about the well-being of their own children. It forces us to ask: What if it was your child? Because these children are someone's children, and they deserve compassion and acceptance.
In our quest to explore the implications of these bills further, we're fortunate to have the insights of two remarkable parents: Debi Jackson and Rabbi Daniel Bogard, both fierce advocates for transgender rights.
Debi Jackson is a member of the Human Rights Campaign Parents for Transgender Equity Council and the proud parent of a 15-year-old non-binary child. Her decade-long advocacy journey has been marked by relentless efforts to humanize and educate people about transgender individuals and their families.
Debi highlights the stark contrast between the demonizing language used by proponents of these bills and the reality she knows. Transgender people, including her child, are regular members of their communities, neighbors, friends, and schoolmates. These families shop at the same stores, share the same public spaces, and attend the same places of worship. There is nothing to fear about them, but organizations with deep pockets, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Alliance Defending Freedom, manipulate this manufactured fear to further their divisive agenda.
Debi underlines the danger of this manipulation. Once these bills target transgender people, they may move on to the next marginalized group. The danger lies in the fact that such tactics of division and bigotry can be weaponized against anyone.
Rabbi Daniel Bogard, a parent of a nine-year-old transgender boy, is at the heart of the battle for transgender rights in Missouri. His son, alongside his 12-year-old sibling, has testified against anti-trans bills to protect their right to live their lives authentically.
He sheds light on the hostility transgender children and their families face within the legislative process. Senators have asked children about what their genitals look like, offered to remove them from their parents, and accused parents of not loving their children enough. The impact of such vitriol is heartbreaking, and Rabbi Bogard and his family refuse to expose their youngest child to such hateful rhetoric.
Rabbi Bogard also makes a poignant point: we must center the harm these bills cause rather than focusing on the debate. When we center the debate, we play into the hands of Republicans who are counting on using anti-trans rhetoric to rile up their base.
In Conclusion, there's a war being waged on transgender kids, and the battlefront is their very lives and well-being. The fight for trans rights is not just a political issue; it's about compassion, acceptance, and protecting the most vulnerable among us. It's about understanding that transgender children, like all children, deserve love, support, and the right to live authentically. These bills may target a specific group today, but tomorrow it could be someone else. It's time to stand up for love, compassion, and the protection of all our children, no matter who they are.