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North Carolina’s Transgender Youth React To Legislation That Targets Their Identities

Source: NC Policy Watch

The North Carolina Senate Republicans have introduced their own version of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, SB 49.  Among other things, this bill would force teachers to out their gender-questioning students to their parents, creating a dangerous and dehumanizing environment for LGBTQ+ students. 

It’s clear that our children are suffering. The last few years have not been easy, and we are seeing unprecedented levels of mental health anguish among youth. The state just released a study that showed more than 1 in 5 North Carolina high school students have seriously considered attempting suicide within the past year. Among LGBTQ students, it’s almost 1 in every 2.

The reaction among transgender students in North Carolina has been one of anxiety.

Alex Lounsbury, an Atkins High School senior in Winston-Salem, shared his concerns with  NC Policy Watch saying, “Being outed, not being able to speak my truth about who I really am in my own time, when I decided to. And to not be able to make a decision with my family and my doctors. I don’t see why it’s anybody else’s place to say, why they belong in that conversation.” Alex confided that his parents have been loving and supportive but expressed concern for his fellow students saying,  “I know a lot of people don’t have that from their parents. I wish everyone did..”

Callum Bradford, a 16-year-old transgender high school student in Chapel Hill, told Cardinal and Pine, “It just sends the message that they don’t want us here. They don’t want us to be open about our identities. I think that that’s a very hurtful message. “ He went on to explain how damaging the bill is for trans youth, “I know of a lot of other people that are feeling the same way, that it’s almost like they’re trying to erase history and erase the LGBTQ community.”

Republicans are working hard to turn parents and teachers against each other so they can insert themselves into classrooms and curriculum debates.

Republicans should take advice from 13-year-old Sage, a non-binary student from Greensboro, who wisely stated that  “Having freedom in this country, including freedom of religion, also means having freedom from having someone else’s religion used against you.”

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