As I sit here to write this, with tears rolling down my cheeks, I am enraged and saddened by the current state of the world and the harmful legislation and messages being used to attack LGBTQ and trans youth.
When I was a queer and gender non-conforming kid, I didn't hear the word gay, and I didn't have access to information about gender or gender-affirming care. That caused tremendous confusion, struggle, anxiety, loneliness, and isolation.
Throughout late adolescence and young adulthood, I was incredibly privileged to have access to people, spaces, and services that allowed me to more fully understand who I am and who I've always been— a queer, trans, and gender non-conforming human being. But when you live in a world where you don't see anyone who looks like you or feels like you (and if you do, it's in a negative or stigmatized light), you are robbed of the experience of envisioning a hopeful future. You see other people thriving in their friendships, relationships, passions, communities, and jobs, and you don't see those same possibilities for yourself. You don't see a future that includes who you truly are. Instead, you see a future where you have to mold yourself to fit others' expectations to qualify for respect, human rights, and opportunities.
Today, I'm doing things I never imagined I could do when I was a confused queer and trans young person with a very unclear vision of my future and how it could look. I have friends and family who love and support me. I have a partner of 10 years who has stood by my side, and I can't wait to grow old with. I have a 2-year-old child who is the light of my life. I also have a fulfilling career in a field that reflects my passions and interests. And for the longest time, I thought being true to who I am, meant I couldn't have any of those things.
To all those promoting these anti-trans and don't say gay bills: I want you to know that you are sending the message to trans kids that they do not have a future where they can grow into the human beings and individuals they are. And I want you to know how painful that is.
Unfortunately, the more legislators pass these laws, the more young people will hear and live with this harmful message. And at the end of the day, I'm afraid some are going to decide not to live because of it— because laws like this give the impression that if you are not straight or cisgender, you will not have access to a future where can be loved and respected in the world as yourself.
To everyone hurting, I want to say I support you, I see you, I love you, I stand with you, and we're going to fight this. Trans and queer youth are here-- changing how we inhabit and experience ourselves and the world. None of us and none of that can be legislated out of existence.
Mere Abrams (they/them); Urbody Co-Founder