High school is a difficult enough time, where teenagers begin to transition from child to adult all while dealing with fluctuating hormones and a multitude of firsts – first date, car, job. But the teenage kingdom of high school is even more difficult when transgender students make the bold, brave step to show the world who they really are.
Some transgender students have the safety net of a fiercely supportive family and friends. Others are not so lucky. Even those with advocates by their side often state they feel lonely, misunderstood, and far from accepted. Bullying is a common issue with these students, and these mean-spirited subjugations often lead to depression, anxiety, or even suicide.
Research and first-hand accounts have allowed the public to view what life is like inside the heads of those who undergo this transition during their most tender, vulnerable years. These young people have issues with places and situations that most others do not even think about. For example, going to the bathroom or even just walking down a school hallway.
There is action being taken to remedy these situations to the best of everyone’s ability. While every well-meaning effort can not eradicate the views of individual people, new campaigns and laws are being enacted which help to alleviate at least some of the bullying, discomfort, and hardships facing transgender youths.
By the Numbers
- 65% of transgender youth are bullied at school
- 10% of transgender students have been physically threatened with a weapon
- 70% avoid bathrooms out of fear and discomfort
- 18% have been the victim of dating violence
- 18% of transgender youth have been the victim of sexual violence
- There are at least 100 anti-LGBTQ bills currently in at least 29 states – many of which specifically target trans people.
- Only 14 states (plus the District of Columbia) have antidiscrimination laws in place.
A back to school campaign called “Hallway” is a joint project between GLSEN and the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) is trying to shed light on those issues faced by transgender students. They are doing so with a video highlighting these issues, along with infographics and a toolkit.
The video, while meant for everyone, is primarily aimed towards the 15 states where anti-LGBTQ legislation puts these teens at even high risk than their peers. These states include:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
The primary goal of this campaign is to draw attention to how urgent it is that laws and policies regarding transgender youths are. They should be provided the same opportunity to participate, succeed, and feel safe in school as their cisgender classmates.
The Good News
While the struggles facing transgender students are still very real and very serious, there is hope on the horizon. With more students feeling more comfortable and emboldened enough to come out as their true selves, the world is slowly changing.
The progress seen in the last ten to twenty years is remarkable, and the winds of change are moving quicker than ever. In our lifetimes we could see very real strides made in the equality of not just transgender people, but all people.