According to the Trevor Project, “at least one LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13-24 attempts suicide every 45 seconds in the U.S.” In 2019 I attended the funeral of my friend, a 19-year-old trans man who committed suicide. Young trans people have continued to be placed at the center of the harsh right-wing agenda even after the so-called “bathroom bill” was soundly defeated in 2017.
At the behest of Gov. Abbott and with bills written by Rep. Charles Perry, the Texas Legislature is choosing to make schools and universities less safe for trans students with bills, like SB 2, that ban student athletes from “compet[ing] in an interscholastic athletic competition… that is designated for the biological sex opposite to the student’s biological sex as correctly stated on the student’s official birth certificate.”
Pediatrician and geneticist Dr. Eric Vilain says “sports in schools are supposed to be primarily about inclusivity, setting individual goals, collective goals, and well-being.” By choosing to exclude trans youth from competing in “interscholastic athletic competition,” the state is keeping young people from developing foundational team-building and individual skills.
While trans athletes make up only a small percentage of those participating in scholastic sports, the impact of these bills on the mental health of trans students will undoubtedly cost Texas precious lives. Instead of working to deny access to universal programs in our publicly funded institutions, we should be fighting to ensure that every child and every young person is provided the opportunity to build life skills that encourage health, teamwork, and togetherness.
SB 2 is pending in House Public Education. Senate leadership is threatening to hold up other important bills if this blatant attack on trans kids does not move forward. Kids’ lives should never be used to score political points.
This blog was authored by Every Texan Economic Opportunity Intern Garrett DeGraffenreid. For more information, please contact Economic Opportunity Team Director Chandra Villanueva at firstname.lastname@example.org.