J. K Rowling once said “Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery. ” All throughout the United States there are people who refuse to accept others, more specifically, transgender individuals. This non acceptance has caused extensive consequences for those who have been discriminated against. Therefore, the nonacceptance of individuals who are transgender must be terminated because it has a negative impact on their lives.
In order to stop this injustice within our society, schools must take action and start enlightening young adolescents about transgender individuals and the impacts of not being accepted into society may have on them. (Thesis) On the word of the Intersex Society of North America, a person who is transgender is typically someone who is born with a distinctive male or female body however, they feel uncomfortable with their current gender identity, resulting in them changing from one set gender to another. (definition) According to Aaron T. Norton and Greg M.
Herek PhD at the University of California, transgender individuals encounter even harsher rejection than that of other LGBT members (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender). This conclusion was also confirmed by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights. In other words, a transgender person faces the particularly unjust reality of not being accepted. Some of this harsh rejection has become a nationwide occurrence known as “trans-bashing”. Trans-bashing is a hate crime resulting from a transgender individual not being accepted by another person, thus making them a subject to abuse or alienation (definition).
Statistics have shown the severe reality of this hate crime which transgender individuals must endure just for conveying who they are. In a 2011 survey, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) revealed the brutality of trans-bashing and how much it affected those who are transgender. In the study by NCTE it was found that 82% of transgender youth who were surveyed felt unsafe in school, 44% had been abused physically, 67% were cyber bullied, and 64% had their property vandalized or stolen.
Another occurrence that the transgender community has been forced to undergo other than “trans-bashing”, is that they have suffered from their supposedly undeniable right of health care being taken away. In another survey by NCTE and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, taken by seven thousand transgender people it was found that a whole 19% of them were refused medical care in America due to their gender identity (cause and effect/example). According to the law, every human has the right to health care.
However, there are some humans who are still denied that right just because they are “different” and no action has taken place towards this injustice. The Huffington Post reveals to the public a firsthand account of one transgender individual who faced rejection from society. Toni Newman, an African American transgender woman faced an especially harsh reality when she came out as transgender. Not only was Newman unaccepted when she came out, but she was also left homeless, and jobless.
Even though she was educated with two degrees and years of work experience, potential employers continued to deny Newman a job due to her being “different”. Newman was continuously humiliated, bullied, and even attacked because she was transgender (mini narrative). Overall, the amount of discrimination towards transgender people is beyond belief. A great amount of them face unacceptance in many different forms such as trans-bashing and being denied rights that other people are unquestionably given. With that being said, there are many effects that occur due to society not accepting them (cause and effect), and these effects are grave.
To begin with, the criticism of transgender people has a negative effect on their physical and mental health. In a 2011 report, The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender People: Building a Foundation for Better Understanding it was found that there are high rates of substance abuse and attempted suicide in individuals who are transgender. For example, in a survey consisting of seven thousand transgender people in America, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force discovered that 41% of them attempted to commit suicide (example).
Although there are many transgender individuals that are luckily still here with us, there are many who unfortunately ended their lives on behalf of not being accepted. One recent event that shocked the nation is the calamitous story of Joshua (Leelah) Alcorn. According to CNN, on December 28, 2014, the 17 year old teen committed suicide by jumping in front of a tractor-trailer on Interstate 71 in Cincinnati. By birth, Joshua Alcorn had the set gender of a male.
However after many years of confusion, they finally realized who they were and came out to their family as transgender, Joshua Alcorn now referred to herself as Leelah Alcorn. However, after finally discovering who she was, she was immediately unaccepted from her family. In her suicide note she wrote, “I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. After being told this, Leelah felt a great amount of selfhatred and later came to the conclusion that her parents would never come around as a result of their strong religious beliefs. Between not being accepted by those closest to her, and not loving who she was, the hopelessness took over and Leelah Alcorn came to the heartbreaking decision to take her own life. In her suicide note, some of her final words were; “The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights.
Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. ” (mini narrative). With that being said, an end must come to transgender individuals not being accepted so that there are no more horrific outcomes such as that of Leelah Alcorn and many others. Throughout the United States there are many curriculums young adolescents take during their school years. However there has not been any lesson plans addressing transgender individuals or their acceptance.
As a result of this, many teens do not have much knowledge on why people decide to change genders nor do they realize the affects not being accepted has on those individuals, Therefore, the first thing schools must do is add in an informative lesson about the topic of transgender people into their health curriculums. In to embolden school systems to welcome this new lesson into the health curriculum is to sign petitions. There are many LGBT associations with thousands of members that w without a doubt support the cause and sign the petition.
Once many people have taken part in signing the petition, it would be sent to school systems throughout the United States which would hopefully encourage them to start this potentially lifesaving and informing program. Also, to persuade school systems further, fundraisers could be held to improve the health curriculums within those schools. These fundraisers could gain money through organizations, and social media as many people are associated with it. A way to fund LGBT related programs for schools is almost costless.
For instance, much of the information you can learn about people who are transgender as well as the consequences of their non-acceptance is virtually at our fingertips. With the internet being such a worldwide phenomenon, schools can easily get factual information for no extra cost at all. In the United States, the majority of schools already have a source of wireless internet, therefore the information would be easily attainable. The only thing that would cost any extra money is to print off articles or worksheets which can all be paid for through fundraisers.
Also, the health teachers within our country are already being paid for teaching their normal curriculum. Therefore, it will not cost any extra to start enlightening young adolescents because it will be incorporated in an already funded curriculum. The lesson of accepting transgender individuals will be brief but informational. The things that will be taught are how a person who is transgender feels about themselves before they go through a sex change and the support that is usually needed for them to go through with it.
In addition it will reveal to the adolescents how those transgender people are still human and that they should be treated with respect. Lastly, the lesson will provide information on topics previously discussed such as transbashing and the effects not being accepted into society has on transgender individuals, such as suicide, self-hatred and substance abuse. The impact of teaching young adolescents throughout the United States about transgender people will be monumental. The lessons will teach them that being transgender should be accepted and that they should be treated as ordinary people.
It will defy the stereotype that transgender people are “freaks” or “abnormal” and will bring a new positive perspective on transgender people. Considering these adolescents that will be learning these lessons are the future of the country, it will be more than helpful if these future leaders understand the social injustice behind the nonacceptance of those who are transgender. Once the youth of America are educated on this injustice within our society, the country and those who have suffered from not being accepted can begin to heal and grow stronger.
To conclude, there is currently a plight amidst our society of transgender individuals not being accepted. The effects this has on the transgender community is perpetual. The mental and physical outcomes can result in self-hatred, depression, drug abuse, suicide and many more negativities (description). Therefore, one effective method in abolishing this injustice is by decreasing the ignorance among the youth in the United States of transgender people and the outcomes of being alienated has on them. This method would be accomplished through adding a lesson into the health curriculum, funded by fundraisers through organizations and the public.