As we mentioned in a previous blog post, ageism is not the only -ism or -phobia that matters to us, for a multitude of reasons.
There are many forms of discrimination that GPNYC advocates against, but between the timing on the calendar (June is LGBTQ+ Pride Month) and where we are currently in America’s political discourse (the attempts by some state legislatures to take away rights from transgender individuals), it is important for us to be unambiguously clear: we stand in solidarity with all who advocate for the rights of transgender individuals, and in condemnation of those who attempt to take rights away from them.
We believe in the rights of older persons, but at the same time, we believe in the rights of someone to access the physical and mental health care they need so that it is possible for them to eventually become an older person. Providing, rather than restricting, access to gender-affirming care gives transgender and gender non-binary individuals that right. A recent study shows that access to such care reduces the odds of suicidality among transgender and non-binary youth by a whopping 73 percent(1)—meaning that the odds of trans youth becoming trans elders significantly improve simply because they can get healthcare like puberty blockers and gender-affirming hormones (two treatments sought by many transgender and non-binary individuals).
And yet, in spite of that evidence, there are hideous anti-trans bills being introduced, passed, and signed into law. The anti-drag bill in Tennessee has gotten a lot of attention (and rightfully so), but we should also pay attention to the cruelty of state-level elected officials in several states who have signed into law bills that restrict the access trans kids have to social activities (particularly sports), ban gender-affirming care for youth, and force minors to medically detransition(2). These are bills that significantly reduce the chances of a trans kid becoming a trans elder. It is disgusting. Anyone who lives in a state with anti-trans bills under consideration should contact their representatives and urge them to oppose such bills.
Amid this darkness though, there are states and national-level elected officials seeking to provide safe havens for transgender and non-binary individuals. From members of Congress who have introduced legislation that would provide a Transgender Bill of Rights(3), to recently signed legislation that not only protects gender-affirming care in Minnesota but also legally protects those who come from hostile states (like Tennessee) in order to seek said care(4), there are elected officials also looking to advance the rights of transgender and non-binary people. We stand in unambiguous support of such efforts, and anyone in a state where such efforts are being made should contact their representatives and urge them to support such bills.
Transgender and non-binary people are every bit as deserving of becoming thriving older persons as anyone else. It’s time for anti-trans legislatures to change their acts and recognize that too.