Transgender lives are under attack

Fifty two percent. It’s a high number right? Well, if you don’t think so, you will when you realize what it represents. 

Fifty two percent represents the percentage of transgender individuals who attempt suicide, and 20 percent represents the percentage of transgender individuals who commit suicide. 

Now why is that number so high? Well, it’s mainly because of the blatant transphobia we deal with on a day-to-day basis not only on a personal level at home, in school and at work, but now in the senate as well. Due to the sheer number of anti-trans bills, I can only post Iowa’s, but other states can be found here. For those of you who have been living blissfully unaware of these violations of human rights, These are the transphobic bills that have been introduced or passed in 2021-2022 just in the state of Iowa. The bill that drew my attention story however was, HF184, this is a bill for an act relating to student participation in interscholastic or intramural athletic teams or sports based on biological sex.

The main creditor of many of these bills, including HF184, was Ms.Sandy Salmon, a representative for Waverly’s Bremer county. In response to this I sent her an email. 

“Hello Ms.Salmon, this is Sal Engle from Cedar Falls, Iowa. 

I am not one of your constituents, however, I am a person who has been personally affected by your decision to propose bills against transgender individuals. I myself am a transgender man who has been medically transitioning for five years. Now I do not know your reasoning for proposing these bills, but I do know that there is no reason for anyone to do something simply to put down an oppressed minority. In this day and age, you wouldn’t propose a bill denying someone with vitiligo the right to play sports with white athletes because they were born black and only lost their melanin later in life. You wouldn’t deny a veteran access to disability care because they were able-bodied before their service. 

I noticed that you wear glasses, as do I. Tell me, how would you feel if your optometrist refused you your prescription because you didn’t need glasses as a young child. You would think they were unfit for their career, right? And yet you wish to deny a trans woman the right to participate in women’s sports because she was assigned the wrong gender at the time of her youth. 

I apologize if I’m coming off as heated, but the bills you have recently been proposing have actively been hurting not only myself, but also those in the GSA at my high school that I co-lead with nine other leaders. Several of my students are transgender, agender, genderqueer or non-binary or their friends, siblings or partners are. Therefore when they see these bills and when I have to discuss these bills with them, it invokes deep personal responses of hurt and fear in them. 

My students are afraid that these bills will push the people they love to their breaking points and I am afraid that the bills will push them to that point. Because, Ms. Salmon, I don’t know if you know this, but according to the The Trevor Project, 52 percent of non-cisgender individuals attempt suicide and 20 percent of them succeed, and I’m just looking at my GSA. 

Iowa Safe Schools is an organization that looks over most GSAs in this state, and they too, are fearing for their students. 

Another resource you should explore before you continue pushing bills that hurt this community is GLAAD. They are a transgender resource organization and have lots of wonderful information for people new to the community. I hope they can help persuade you to be pro-LGBTQIA+. 

-Sincerely Sal Michael Aster Engle, He/They.” 

I encourage you to do the same. Not just for Sandy, but for anyone spearheading an anti-queer bill. Don’t sit down and take it. Be loud. Be proud. Fight in a way that makes stonewall look like a pridefest, and to those of you outside of our community, I ask you to do the same. Minority groups need to stand together because together we are strong. When someone attacks one of us, they attack us all, and so we all need to rally together and tell them no because it’s not just about not being able to play a sport or to use a bathroom, it’s about the blatant discrimination plauging this community.

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