A letter talking about the sad reality for many transgender youth.

In the face of backlash that I have experienced firsthand, although to a lesser degree than many others, I feel the need to speak out against the mistreatment of transgender people, especially transgender youth, in our society.

Imagine waking up in a body that doesn’t feel like your own. A body that feels wrong in places. Everyone tells you that it’s fine, and that there’s nothing wrong, but it just feels off, sometimes to the point where it’s almost painful. It wears down on you mentally. You feel betrayed, both by your body, and by the people who don’t understand, who think you’ll just get over it. Now, imagine that you find a word for it, and a way to fix it. You tell your friends and family, but they laugh at you, or get mad at you. They insist it’s all a phase. You feel trapped, and like there’s no one who can help. It’s slowly killing you.

That hypothetical situation is the grim reality for many transgender teens and young adults across the world. 42% of trans men, 37% of trans women, and 31% of non-binary people have attempted suicide. However, these numbers drop dramatically after transition, coming out to 9% of transgender people. This number is still higher than the typical suicide rate, but this can be explained by lack of acceptance from family. This is backed up by a statistic regarding gay, lesbian, and bisexual adults: those who reported being rejected or not accepted by their family during their teenage years were 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide.

The way to help these numbers drop seems pretty clear. Calling a trans person by their correct name and pronouns is suicide prevention, and it is something all of us should do. The hatred transgender people recieve is unwarranted, and costs so many lives. Society’s transphobia needs to end, so we can build a brighter future for all people, regardless of what they were born as.

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Greater Madison Writing Project Rise Up and Write 2021

We are a youth advocacy writing summer program.

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