Protect trans youth

Josie Lorenz | The Chronicle

On the afternoon of February 11, 2023, a British sixteen-year-old transgender girl, Brianna Ghey was found on a walking path with multiple stab wounds. Authorities pronounced her dead at the scene. A 15-year-old boy and girl have been charged with Ghey’s murder. Ghey had been exposed to years of transphobic harassment before her death. Authorities called the attack brutal and punishing. 

This is not a rare occurrence. While fatal hate crimes towards transgender youth across the world are relatively uncommon, the National Library of Medicine reported that “82% of transgender individuals have considered killing themselves and 40% have attempted suicide, with suicidality highest among transgender youth.” 

Transgender youth are fighting a war on all fronts. They are exposed to relentless physical, digital and verbal harassment. They are the object of political debates. So for many, they become a statistic, they view suicide as an escape.  

This is not acceptable. 

Rights for transgender individuals have become a hot-button topic in local, state and federal political campaigns. The kids who are wrestling for acceptance do not care about politics. Yes, they want equality but more importantly, they want to be safe. In fact, I am sick of how a basic fundamental human value of caring for others has become politicized. When did we lose sight of valuing others, caring for them and providing a safe place to take a walk without getting stabbed to death? 

I know that for some, this is a political and extremely uncomfortable topic. But, as a high schooler who spends every day with an array of different kids, many of whom identify under this umbrella, I do not see this as politics. I see this simply as the raw lives of those around me. I do not want to debate whether or not these children deserve specific autonomy or rights. I want them to be safe. I do not want them to wind up dead or consider ending their own lives because the people around them will not accept them. 

In the case of Ghey, it was her fellow children who allegedly killed her. Teenagers are impressionable. Hate is learned. When you are bombarded with hateful messages, eventually, kids will take a side. In this case, two 15-year-olds allegedly decided that a transgender girl was less than human, not worthy of living.

Even if you are morally opposed to the plight of transgender people, how can you deny that they are less than human? They are children. They deserve to be able to live their life as authentically as you. 

No one should be the subject of such cruel words and actions. It does not hurt to be kind to someone different than you. If adults want to keep arguing over gender topics, let them. We, the kids, need to stick together. I hope that eventually, the adults will come around. But soon, we will be adults and we will be the ones who will have the opportunity to change policies and vote for candidates who support equal rights. But in the meantime, teenagers need to show adults the way and help us all come together. We, as a whole, need to take a conscious step to overcoming existing prejudices towards those who identify as transgender. We must create a culture where children feel safe expressing who they truly are and if we do, maybe we can help create a world where the Brianna Ghey’s of the world will grow up to fulfill their full potential, instead of winding up a cruel statistic.