To the next president of the United States,
As a transgender individual, issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community, specifically the trans community, are very important to me. Trans people experience an intense amount of bigotry and discrimination that can make it difficult for us to find jobs and feel comfortable and safe in everyday life, causing high rates of mental illness and suicide. Bathrooms, places like hotels and airports that require identification, and sports teams are all sources of anxiety for trans people of all ages. Ignorance is the primary reason for this discrimination, and a lack of easily accessible and comprehensive health care contributes majorly to feelings of gender dysphoria—discomfort or disgust with one’s body in relation to gender norms. Though it will take work, these issues can be resolved, and our society will benefit from its tolerance.
In our society, physical appearance is irrevocably linked with gender. Even if this was not the case, I would desire to transition because transitioning is a process only undergone for oneself and not for the approval of others, or to fit into the norms of society. I long to become more feminine in appearance only because it would increase my own happiness and personal comfort, because my goal is not to pass as cisgender, it is to be comfortable in my own skin. Health care needs to be more affordable, and it is imperative for health insurance to cover hormone replacement therapy and surgeries that trans people commonly undergo. Everybody deserves to be happy and healthy, and affordable health care is important for everyone.
Education about the variety of sexual orientations and gender identities needs to be addressed in sex education classes, and students must be exposed to these ideas at a young age in order to normalize them. The fact that the knowledge of the existence of LGBTQ+ people is not universal contributes to feelings of confusion and anguish as transgender youth attempt to comprehend something about themselves that they have no point of reference for. Education is also important for teaching that uncommon identities of peers are not flawed or wrong. This will increase support and acceptance as communities become safer and inclusive spaces increase. Breaking down stereotypes of gender and a society-wide unlearning of gender norms is important because, in the words of the poet Ollie Schminkey, “I am not trapped in my body. I am trapped in other peoples’ perceptions of my body.” Furthermore, homelessness is an unfortunate reality for many LGBT+ youth who make up 20-40% of the homeless you population in America, according to transequality.org, and many are mistreated and discriminated against when they seek refuge at homeless shelters or similar organizations. Most of these children have been kicked out by their parents and face yet more rejection when they seek help. Trans individuals also face a higher risk of violence than most other people. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, trans people are more likely to experience sexual violence and physical violence when interacting with the police. Homicide rates are also higher for transgender people and a Trans Day of Visibility was created to honor victims of anti-trans violence.