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Is America Putting Its Youth At Risk?

How the new anti-trans laws being passed throughout the country will impact the youth of America

In October of 2021, my sister, her now-wife, my now-four-year-old niece, and I all attended a LGBTQ+ Pride event in Jacksonville, Florida. The same city that has recently made the news for banning any “progressive” books in children’s schools, in the same state that signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into effect this time last year. 

This Pride parade took up the entire day, and although there were several different events, my niece’s favorite was hands down the drag shows. As the people on stage danced to the music, I watched as she danced with the other kids in the audience. When we left, my niece continuously raved about their makeup and their choreography. 

That day was nothing but a positive experience for my niece. It was almost ninety degrees, we had spent hours outside in the heat, and yet she (for the first time in her life) had no complaints. That day a little girl, living in a state which has banned her ability to discuss her own mother’s lifestyle, learned more about love and acceptance than any kid would be capable of inside the walls of a Florida school.

In a state like Tennessee, children just like my niece are being stripped of experiences like this. “The bill that passed in Tennessee last week restricts ‘adult cabaret performances’ in public or in the presence of children, and bans them from occurring within 1,000 feet of schools, public parks, or places of worship. This was passed alongside separate legislation that bans transgender minors in Tennessee from receiving gender-affirming care like puberty blockers, hormones, and surgery. As of a month ago, at least 9 GOP-led state legislatures were pushing similar anti-drag bills. Those found violating the anti-drag law face misdemeanor charges in the first instance, punishable by a fine up to $2,500 and/or up to a year in jail. Those found for subsequent violations face a felony charge, punishable by up to six years in jail” (Restrepo, 2023).

The argument of whether or not this bill is truly “protecting children” could go on forever. Inarguably, however, you cannot deny the fact that this bill will result in the harm of many children. 

Anti-trans laws being introduced is not limited to the state of Tennessee; below is a map of all of the states that introduced anti-LGBTQ bills in just the first two months of 2023. 

In this photo from ACLU, you can see the states that have had anti-LGBTQ bills introduced in 2023 as of February 

In an interview done by Jon Stewart he talks to Republican attorney Leslie Rutledge. She claims that unnamed medical experts believe that kids should not have any access to gender affirming care. Stewart asks her, “but you know that’s not true, you know it’s not for everyone?” She claims that she doesn’t know that it’s not true, in which Stewart responds, “why would you pass a law then, if you don’t know that that’s true?” Rutledge is just one of many people attempting to pass laws on issues they know nothing about.

In a different interview, Jon Stewart talks to another person backing the Tennessee anti-trans and anti-drag bills. When Stewart asked whether or not the drag-show bannings were infringing on free-speech, a man defending the bans claimed, “they can continue to exercise their free speech, just not in front of a child”. When asked why, he stated, “the government does have a responsibility to protect”, implying that the knowledge of drag shows/readings would pose a threat to minors. 

The real threat to America’s children? Bills that essentially work to ban their ability to receive affirming care, receive therapy that would assist them in handling their gender dysphoria. The real harm will come with the lack of validation that these children will have. This is exactly what this bill, and all of the other bills like it, will do. 

Transgender children deserve to feel seen and accepted. Without that, we will see an increase in the loss of trans youth. To pass bills that increase the death rate of an entire group of people is irresponsible and harmful. 

This article is dedicated to the life of Eden Knight.

“I hope that the world gets better for us. I hope our people get old. I hope we get to see our kids grow up to fight for us. I hope for trans rights world wide.” 

~ Eden Knight


Lopez Restrepo, Manuela. “The Anti-Drag Bills Sweeping the U.S. are Straight from History’s Playbook” NPR 6 March. 2023, 

Killian, Joe. “Monday numbers: North Carolina and the National Wave of Anti-LGBTQ Legislation” NC Policy Watch 13 Feb. 2023, 

Reis, Elizabeth. “Crying Foul: The Myriad Threats of Anti-Trans Legislation” Nursing Clio 16 June. 2022, 

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