Content warning: this article discusses transphobia and contains quotations from laws that use transphobic language.
Proceed with care.
"a health care provider shall not, for the purpose of attempting to alter the appearance of, or to validate a minor's perception of, the minor’s sex, if that appearance or perception is inconsistent with the minor's sex, knowingly: (a) Prescribe or administer any drug to delay or stop normal puberty; (b) Prescribe or administer testosterone, estrogen, or progesterone, in amounts greater than would normally be produced endogenously in a healthy person of the same age and sex; (c) Perform any sterilizing surgery, including castration, hysterectomy, oophorectomy, orchiectomy, penectomy, and vasectomy; (d) Perform any surgery that artificially constructs tissue having the appearance of genitalia differing from the minor's sex, including metoidioplasty, phalloplasty, and vaginoplasty; or (e) Remove any healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue." -Senate Bill 150, Kentucky. Passed on 3/29/2023 after Gov. Andy Beshear's veto was overridden.
Across the US, more bills attacking the rights of queer people, especially genderqueer youth, are being pushed forwards every year.
"(2) A school or library that receives any form of funding from the state may not allow a sexually oriented performance or drag story hour, as defined in [section 1], on its premises during regular operating hours or at any school-sanctioned extracurricular activity." -House Bill 359, Montana. Passed on 5/22/2023.
On May 30, 2023, Alabama passed a law prohibiting trans athletes from participating in sports that align with their gender. This ban is in place for every public school from kindergarten to universities.
"(a) A healthcare provider shall not perform or offer to perform on a minor, or administer or offer to administer to a minor, a medical procedure if the performance or administration of the procedure is for the purpose of: (1) Enabling a minor to identify with, or live as, a purported identity inconsistent with the minor's sex; or (2) Treating purported discomfort or distress from a discordance between the minor's sex and asserted identity." -Senate Bill 1, Tennessee. Passed on 3/2/2023.
On March 21, 2023, Arkansas passed a law mandating that schools separate bathrooms, changing rooms, etc. strictly by assigned sex at birth. They also passed a law on April 11 prohibiting school officials and teachers from referring to a minor student by their preferred name or pronouns without written permission from the student’s parent(s). On March 14, they passed a law banning classroom instruction in public schools about “gender identity or sexual orientation,” buried within a 145-page bill that did include some positive provisions, including increasing salaries for all public school teachers in the state.
"(c) General education core courses may not distort significant historical events or include a curriculum that teaches identity politics, violates s. 1000.05, or is based on theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression, and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and were created to maintain social, political, and economic inequities." -Senate Bill 266, Florida. Passed on 5/15/2023.
The list of anti-LGBTQ+ bills and laws goes on. The ACLU counts 491 across the United States in 2023 alone, 77 of which have already passed. Legislators and news outlets are constantly discussing queer issues, but an important voice is almost always excluded from this narrative. The voice of the people who are most affected by these laws. The voice of queer youth.
Here at Queer Youth Voices, we are working to change that. We are uplifting the voices of queer youth from across the United States because we have had enough of being silenced. Queer people have always existed, and we will not stop existing, even if governments try to legislate us out of existence.
Queer Youth Voices is the newspaper project of Queer Youth Assemble, a non-profit run by queer youth for queer youth, fighting for queer safety, joy, and autonomy since 2021. If you want to support our mission, you can donate here. If you are a queer youth under 25, you can apply to volunteer here.
Thank you for reading, and thank you for listening to our voices.