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Transgender Kids and Their Families Are Under Attack

How Trump's military trans ban hurts families like mine

Vlada Knowlton

Published on: January 23, 2019

Transgender Kids and Their Families are Under Attack

The U.S. Supreme Court announced its 5-4 decision this week to allow Trump’s transgender military ban to be implemented while court challenges continue. It isn’t the first attack against transgender citizens by the Trump administration, but it was another significant blow. Such relentless attacks by our federal government are having a devastating effect not only on transgender adults and their loved ones, but also on transgender children and their families. I know, because our family is one of them.

As a parent of a transgender child, the last few years have taught me I have to carefully navigate prejudice and misinformation wherever we go just so that my daughter can continue to live a healthy, happy, and safe life.  Parents like my husband and me, who are already grappling with how to best support our trans child, and have already witnessed the heart-breaking suffering she went through before she was allowed to socially transition, are all too familiar with the onslaught of groundless and sometimes downright monstrous accusations we face simply for accepting our child’s true gender identity.

We are accused of consciously or unconsciously “convincing” or “influencing” our child to change their gender. We are accused of “abusing” our child for the sake of “seeking attention” or “fame”. We are accused of forcefully subjecting our child to unwarranted and untested surgeries and medical treatments. These accusations and other myths about transgender children are baseless and continue to be debunked, but they cause real damage nonetheless.

The discrimination that trans people and their families face is especially hurtful given that we live in a time when there is plenty of scientific and medical evidence to support that gender identity is stable and innate, determined by a complex interplay of biological factors; that neither gender nor sex are binary; that being born transgender is not a mental illness; that there is long-term evidence supporting the overwhelming life-saving benefits of transition; and that the mainstream medical community (including organizations such as the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Canadian Pediatric Society) have unequivocally established affirmative care guidance for and support of transgender people’s innate gender identities.

As for the transgender military ban, there is no evidence that keeping trans troops in our military would create a significant cost or burden on force readiness, certainly not any more than the healthcare needs of any other service members.

While our country struggles to separate fact from fiction when it comes to transgender rights, some of the most vulnerable members of that minority – transgender children – arguably suffer the most detrimental effects in this struggle. They watch their country’s government attempting to take away their agency and humanity. They watch strangers ignorantly attack their parents (for doing exactly what parent are supposed to do: love and support their children). And they watch as their President attempts to convince the world that they don’t exist.

Think about how that would impact your child and then tell me this administration is "making America great again."


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