My name is Evan Adrien, and I am a junior at Franklin Regional High School. I’m a regular stressed out AP student and producer of my school’s plays, but I am also a transgender teen.
Since I was 9, I have known that I am a transgender man, meaning I was born biologically female but my gender is male. So when I woke one morning and read the New York Times article, “Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration,” I was beyond words.
The article detailed the Health and Human Services Department’s plan to amend Title IX, a clause that bans gender discrimination, in an attempt to establish a legal definition of “sex.” The department argued that gender would need to be defined as “a biological basis that is clear, grounded in science, objective and administrable,” according to The New York Times. The Times, as well as other news sources such as Vox and The Washington Post, added that any dispute about a person’s gender could result in a required DNA test.
Clearly, these implications are frightening for transgender or gender-nonconforming individuals, especially because Health and Human Services intends to rely partly on the Departments of Education, Justice and Labor to help enforce and support this amendment. This attempt at unification of the definition of “sex” and “gender” under all four departments, on top of the implications of the amendment, creates the capacity for Health and Human Services to effectively strip transgender citizens of their basic human rights.
Transgender hormones and surgeries are currently covered by many health insurance plans, but if this amendment is passed, those surgeries could be classified as “cosmetic” and the responsibility to pay would go to the individual.
Legal name changes would be harder to file for, if not banned completely.
Public schools would not be required to let a transgender student use the restroom that makes them most comfortable, and would not be required to use their preferred name and pronouns, either.
Despite the frightening opportunities that would come from the amendment of Title IX, what is more unnerving is the responses to it — or lack thereof. Many people view this as simply another political story, but this is not just another liberal versus conservative issue; this is a human rights issue.
Basic human rights of being called the correct name and pronouns are being stripped away, allowing more discrimination against the 1.4 million Americans who already face horrible discrimination on a daily basis.
There is no security for transgender individuals. We are routinely kicked out of our homes by our parents or landlords, fired from our jobs with nowhere else to go, targeted and called “pedophiles” — all because of something we had no choice over.
If I could choose any life, I would choose in an instant to not be transgender. I would choose in an instant to not need a doctor to surgically alter my body in order to finally put my mind to rest, to not be ridiculed by friends and family, to not have to beg for basic rights.
The suicide attempt rate for transgender individuals is 32 percent, according to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Many state that lack of acceptance is a contributing factor.
This amendment swings open the door for an extreme amount of discrimination to flood through. Transgender surgeries, legal name changes and gender marker changes despite any proof of sex reassignment surgery could all be flat-out denied.
Many people see this amendment as unrealistic, but it is a very real possibility, and it is closer than many care to realize. The amendment will be presented to the Justice Department before the end of the year. If the Justice Department decides the change is legal, it will be implemented across the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, Justice, and Education.
This is a fiercely scary concept that not many grasp the full nature of. If this is passed, transgender individuals will live in a world of fear, rejection and blatant discrimination.
It is important now more than ever for everyone to get informed — to research transgender rights and the implications this amendment can have. I urge everyone to contact local representatives, share accurate information and protest this blatant attempt at stripping 1.4 million people of human rights.
Please, don’t let this issue get lost in the waves of politics. I refuse to let this be forgotten by next week. I will not be erased.