I am a 56-year-old Trans woman, lesbian, queer. I didn’t understand this growing up, but I can sure remember when first I knew I was different. I was five. I remember the exact moment. It was a sunny September day. I was in kindergarten; the kids were playing by a big tree. The teacher began to divide us up into two groups, one for boys, one for girls. I don't remember why. As the kids began lining up, I was stricken with apprehension. I realized that I was expected to go without question or hesitation to the group of boys. I had done so before unthinkingly, obediently, dutifully, but THIS time, I realized, was different: WHY was I being put in the wrong group? I was the last one to line up. The discomfort and anxiety remained for years. I know now that I was experiencing gender dysphoria. I didn't have the language, the words; I had never seen or heard or read anything about it. Nobody "groomed" me. My family never spoke of anything remotely related. Ignorance and silence did not protect me from ANYTHING. I couldn't tell my parents. I was too ashamed and afraid. I lived in fear. I panicked at puberty as my body began to change. I had no one to talk to. I first considered suicide at six. As a young Catholic I knew just thinking about suicide was a mortal sin and I could burn in eternal hell. I was nine when I first planned my suicide; I was thirteen when attempted it. I can’t begin to recall all the sleepless nights, the bullying, called a sissy then a “fag” when kids learned that word. My inability to properly express assigned gender was noticed and punished. I was bullied continuously for years. I remember laying in the playground dust, fourth grade, encircled, kicked, tasting dirt, my own blood, my tears. It was a "game" called "Smear the Queer" or "Tag the Fag.” I hated school. It made me want to die. No child should have to experience what I did. Trans children are children. They have rights. We cannot pretend these children away; they are being bullied, and persecuted. They need our protection. But we cannot protect what we cannot see. See them. They are real. They exist. They need our support


Trans, Youth, Bostock, Dobbs



Kimberly Jade Norwood (Washington University in St. Louis)
Jaimie Hileman (Trans Education Service)



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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0

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