On Monday, October 25, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott quietly signed a bill banning transgender students from participating in school sports teams that align with their gender identity. But the response from some of the members of our Youth Voices was loud and clear — leave trans kids alone.

Attacks are being made against transgender youth across the country, often by lawmakers who have had little to no direct interaction with transgender people at all. Our Youth Voices (including one based in Austin, TX) spoke passionately about the message anti-trans legislation sends to kids, what they want trans youth who might be feeling scared and angry to know, and what they want to say to the politicians backing anti-trans bills. 

What sort of message does legislation like this send to trans youth?

This shows us that we aren’t really cared about. At all. Which we already presumed, but no one can claim they care for trans youth and then push legislation that marginalizes us. It lets trans kids know that the government, those who are supposed to be “protecting” us, that we aren’t protected. That we aren’t equal. Or wanted. And that we shouldn’t be able to pursue our passions. And unfortunately, there’s almost nothing we can do about it. – Cal (they/them – pictured below)

This transphobic legislation sends the message that the government does not support trans youth. It shows that they do not believe that you can have a gender identity that doesn’t align with your assigned sex at birth. Governor Abbott saying that the reasoning behind the laws was protecting girls proves he doesn’t think that transgender girls are “real girls” and that the Texas government values cisgender youth more than transgender youth. It also proves how uninformed the government is about being transgender. – Elliot (they/them)

What do you want to say to lawmakers who support discriminatory legislation like this latest ban?

To the lawmakers who support this legislation, leave us alone. Transgender youth are just normal teenagers who just want to play sports on the team that matches who we really are. These laws are ridiculous and there are much bigger issues that you should be concerned with instead of attacking the human rights of transgender youth. These laws are not “protecting girls” they are hurting girls because transgender girls are girls. Science supports that transgender people are valid and you should to. Let us play sports.  – Elliot (they/them) 

Do my genitals concern you? According to Texas, they do. How is it that the genitals of a minor are your business? How is it that the genitals of a minor define them more than the rest of their body? How is this issue paramount to your lapses in education? Poverty crisis? Health crises?  Your legislation disgusts me. Do better. Be better. I hope that there WILL be a next generation. – Hailey (she/her – pictured below)

I am wondering how legislators could possibly do this. As a legislator, you’re supposed to protect your constituents. This is literal discrimination, by definition. Any arguments you might be able to conjure up about trans kids and sports are invalid because those aren’t the real reasons you don’t want us playing sports. It’s because you don’t want us in society. People who truly cared about trans kid wouldn’t BAN us from anything. I’m disappointed, sad, and confused. Do better. – Cal (they/them)

What message do you want to send to trans youth out there who are reading this news?

These new laws are a step in the wrong direction for the transgender population in Texas. To all the trans youth who are reading this news know that you are not alone in this battle. You have the whole community behind you and we will never stop fighting outrageous legislation like this. We will not be silenced until we have these laws change, but in the meantime, please know that you are valid and you should have the right to play sports.  – Elliot (they/them- pictured below)

I want to say that you are loved and wanted and valid and real. I love you. We love you. The people that are pushing discriminatory legislation like this are just that — discriminatory. We should be protected, and hopefully soon we will be, but for now, I just want you to know I love you. – Cal (they/them)

To the trans youth who are reading this, just know this is not the end. I will not stop fighting for you, our community will not stop fighting for you, and you are not any less loved, celebrated, or cared for. This law does not define your value. You do. – Hailey (she/her)