The impact of hateful anti-transgender legislation – a personal perspective

Deanna Jones, blog author

This blog has been provided by my associate consultant and trainer, transwoman Deanna Jones, as we approach the Transgender Day of Remembrance November 20th.

I was asked to speak at the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s DEI Conference back in July of this year. This is a wonderful conference and I advise everyone to try and attend this next year as they continue to expand it. It is a valuable resource to connect and hear DEI leaders in the area.

I was on the panel for how anti-trans laws being passed at an alarming rate affect me, both personally and professionally. The very first question I was asked was this, “as a transgender person and as a parent of a transgender child, how do these proposed laws and the discussion around them impact you personally? My response is below:

I want all of you to image that you have ached to scale a mountain, you are driven to climb this mountain, you aren’t sure why, but not climbing this mountain is not a choice for you, you knew you had to climb this mountain since you were 4 years old. Finally, one day after about 50 years, you try and climb it…It’s not an easy climb, you have some very close people to you who run away not wanting to be anywhere near the mountain, wife, kids, neighbors and other people, but the closer you get, the more beautiful the view becomes.

Suddenly you’re at the top and the view is beautiful and breathtaking. You take it all in and smile. Then, you start to hear some voices, these voices become louder telling you that they are the keepers of the mountain and you are most definitely not supposed to be there. You are told to leave because climbing this mountain is restricted to only “some people”. Then these officials start placing ropes around it with signs that state “penalties” for your type of people being on the mountain. Suddenly, as if these officials have become emboldened by others who are on the mountain cursing you, they start picking up sticks and start chasing you down the mountain.

That’s what it feels like, I know I pushed that metaphor very hard but, I couldn’t think of anything more fitting as to the way I feel. I wonder, why are there so many people who are trying to keep us from getting to the top of the mountain. I want to believe for a better future life for all of us where we can be who we want to be, and climb whatever mountain we want to. Isn’t that a fundamental right as Americans, as a part of humanity?

My partner has a 15 year old son who is transgender…..He calls me Mom I love him so much but he’s scared. It breaks my heart. He is climbing this mountain but now he too feels like people want to push him off. As a Parent of a transgender child, it’s been so wonderful to see the positive changes since he started gender affirming care, both mentally and physically.

His transition has been life saving for him in so many ways. How do I tell him, the State of North Carolina wants to force him to detransition and make him return to the miserable life he was living before he was able to start transitioning? Am I going to have to BE A REFUGEE FROM THIS STATE and take him to a another state that’s friendlier to trans people than this one? I wonder. His well being is at stake. Nearly half of all trans and nonbinary children and teens have suicide ideation, of those 20% attempt it.

If you knew there was something to reduce this danger and help save your child’s life, wouldn’t any parent want to do it? — What do we all want for our children? We want them to be healthy and happy, be loved and supported. The goal is to create a society where everyone has a fair and equal chance to pursue their dreams and aspirations, just as if they were climbing a mountain with the same starting point and resources available to them. This approach fosters a more just and inclusive world where individuals can reach their full potential.