Protecting Trans Kids

Trans kids go to school during the day, five days a week, six hours a day. Just like non-trans kids.

When kids are in school, they’re still human beings, with basic human functions, including as eating and going to the bathroom.

When a child uses a bathroom they feel comfortable in, hygene can be upkept in a fairly reasonable and traditional manner. If the child, however, has no bathroom they feel safe enough to use, my best guess, as a mother and former child, is that they’ll hold it.

Ever held your pee for a while? The action increasingly hijacks more and more of your attention. (Attention is critical for success in school. Ask anyone diagnosed with ADHD.)

Leading eventually to either dehydration or soiling themselves.

Alternately trans kids could be forced to go into the wrong bathroom – the bathroom that goes fundamentally against who that child knows themselves to be – which further humiliates and confuses that child.

As if childhood wasn’t hard enough. Growing up in a transbody is beyond my understanding. I was not a trans kid.

Which brings me to the building blocks of compassion that we are so clearly missing: I was not a trans kid but I could have been. My sister could have been. Or my child. Bodies are random. We have done nothing to earn one that society celebrates & we have done nothing to be earn one that society scorns.

The feelings that adults have about these arbitrary and accidental realities can be devastating. In this case, are devastating. And to CHILDREN, no less.

Got kids? Look at your kid and imagine an adult, who you may or may not know, telling them that they can’t use the bathroom. Imagine your kid holding it because they’re too embarrassed to go. Picture it. What does your kid look like when they have to go to the bathroom? Is that a good time to teach them? To test them?

And then imagine your kid laying awake at night, wondering why their body isn’t right. Imagine your kid growing up in a school, a city, a country where their very existence – their skin and bones – are legislated out of bathrooms.

Here’s what happens: Suicide. Kids kill themselves because they’re so young and so confused and so angry and they can’t see any possibility of their lives getting better. This happens young. 12. 13. 14. Kids die because someone somewhere decided that the bodies that they’re born into – by chance – aren’t okay. And because some of the grown-up adult people who are supposed to protect them have either no compassion or no courage.

Sad.

Donate to the National Center for Transgender Equality or Lambda Legal today.

Feel free to add another organization working for the protection of trans kids in the comments below.

Posted by

Mel Kozakiewicz a professor, editor, writer, and mother of two.

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