Trans Teens Speak Out Against Hormone Bans Across the U.S.

by Shua Alatriste

FSSA vocal major, Jackie Markham, photographed by the author.

Since January of this year, 10 states have instituted laws prohibiting individuals under 18 from accessing gender affirming care. For trans youth, physically transitioning has become a widespread controversy amongst U.S. politicians– various parties have spoken out for and against hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and how accessible it should be to LGBTQ+ children. 

In other states, partial bans are set to take effect soon. Many states have mandated strict requirements in regards to how long an adult or minor has had gender dysphoria. Florida is amongst one of the more prominent oppositional forces against gender affirming treatments, having been one of the first states to officially restrict the availability of hormone therapy resources, in addition to allowing medical professionals to deny care to any minor who wishes to pursue such medicines. 

All over the country, trans children have spoken out in fear against the lawmakers who have actively been limiting their rights. Many trans youth who reside in anti-HRT states are concerned for their physical and mental well being. 

“It’s really scary, and it’s gonna hurt a lot of people, and a lot of kids really,” said Jackie Markham, 18-year-old fine arts senior at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School (FSSA). “The hormone bans will cause a lot of suicide and be very awful.” Jackie, who identifies as trans, began medically transitioning through hormone therapy at age 14.

“I was technically able to write it off as a medical thing because of the fact that I was born intersex,” Jackie explained.

Living in New York, there are no current laws restricting the access of hormones from trans youth– which allowed Jackie to acquire the care they needed at such a young age. However, private endocrinologists and different practices require extensive emotional and psychological evaluations, as well as having a parent or guardian(s) agree to the process, before delving into it with a person under 18. 

Kevi Mallios, an 18-year-old senior fine arts major at FSSA had similar feelings towards state legislatures across the country attempting to prohibit gender affirming care.

“It feels like they just want to eradicate us, and it feels almost like a genocide of sorts toward trans people,” says Kevi, who identifies as non-binary, feels equally as scared as Jackie.

Although not taking hormone regimens, Kevi’s safety and the safety of trans people is still at risk; trans kids in general are being spoken about harshly in the media, and threats are posed against the group very often. More so, the idea of transness is at risk– the negative connotations being tied to the word make many trans people seen as enemies in the eyes of anti-trans lawmakers and government officials.

“The community is under attack, our ideas about who we are and what we do with our lives are being twisted by sick people… it’s not okay,” Kevi said. 

Outside of New York, the idea of trans rights for young people starts to get even more controversial. Florida, for example, is one of those places that has passed laws banning hormone therapy for underage kids. It’s notoriously known for having viciously anti-trans politicians and movements.

“I don’t even know what to think and feel anymore. It’s terrifying, and awful, and sometimes I just feel like an alien,” said Emma Garner, 16-year-old trans girl from Spring Hill, Florida. “I go out and interact with people, and just feel like this freak. And what’s worse is I’m just a normal person and I want to go on hormones, but no one can help me. No doctor is allowed to help me. I have to wait until I’m 18 to move out and go to New York or some state up on the North-East coast.”

Emma is one of many young trans kids who feels isolated and trapped because of the ban on hormones in Florida. Countless young trans kids like her have been left to feel helpless, feeling discarded from general society and not sure what their lives will become or how they will ever be able to access the medical care they need. 

With more and more anti-trans laws being cemented into the healthcare systems of various states, it’s unknown whether or not trans kids around the U.S. will be living happy, authentic lives.

Many powerful cisgender individuals have made it their mission to go after a group of people they are not on the same page with; a group of kids who have mental struggles so overwhelming and suffocating; a group that just wants to feel like their brain matches their body.

As time continues to pass, some voices will get heard, and some will get silenced.