Banning gender transitions is clearly regressive

On March 22, the government of Iowa approved Senate File 538. Included in this file are the prohibition of hormone-based medications or hormone blockers for minors, the prohibition of surgeries that sterilize (including vasectomies and hysterectomies), and the prohibition of gender reconstruction surgeries for adults, as well as minors. The state of Iowa is also expected to refuse medical treatment of any infections or injuries resulting from gender-reconstruction procedures. This bill deserves uproar. It is yet another example of state laws exercising intolerance, which is not only insulting to the proposed progressiveness that the government claims this country is working towards but also to American freedom.

The government should not have any right to infringe on the individual decisions of others, specifically decisions that have no repercussions for anyone except the person making them. People should have the ability to make decisions regarding their own bodies. Additionally, if gender-affirming surgeries and hormone treatments are criminalized, hate groups may see those who have undergone such treatments as justified targets for their violence. Already, those who identify as transgender are at an exponentially high risk of assault because of social intolerance. It is nightmarish to predict the violence they may be subjected to with a criminal label stuck to their backs.

Not only should we be concerned with where the Iowan government’s ideals are, but we must also acknowledge the intrapersonal effects that this bill will have on people, particularly youth, who identify as transgender. The possibility of a rising number of hate crimes will not only endanger the physical safety of those who identify as transgender, it may seriously endanger them psychologically and emotionally. It is difficult enough grappling with one’s own sense of identity when a person does not identify with the majority. Zacharia Wahls, an Iowa state senator, correctly explains that this bill will lead more of the community into suicide.

The passing of this file is one of the most on-the-nose typical American moves that we have seen in our lifetimes. Horrific events, such as school shootings, provoke a few solemn words from the government and little to no action. However, people who choose to align their external bodies with the gender they identify with may be prosecuted.

The energy spent on this bill’s composition and approval could have been used in countless other ways. If as much time were spent handling shootings, homelessness, the skyrocketing rate of youth suicide, climate change, or starvation as it has been spent attempting to control other people’s self-expression, perhaps our country would be seeing some genuine improvements. As American high schoolers, we can assure you that automatic weapons and gun violence on campus are our primary concerns; we are terrified of being in the same room as an active shooter. Unfortunately, it seems that our country is starting to become more reliant on this concept of “the lack of separation between church and state” and hiding behind religion while acting maliciously. This imminent issue continues to be placed on the back burner by weaponizing religion and using and exploiting the “us vs. them” mentality. This nation’s compulsory counterproductivity is embarrassing. Fighting to maintain basic empathy and respect for the differences between ourselves and those surrounding us who are different should not be this taxing.

This bill is not just an example of transphobia, but it is a depiction of national hypocrisy. The sheer fact that these political figures claim to be working towards “the good of the community,” and then pass bills that will most definitely have detrimental effects on a large community of people is appalling. America continues to push back from all of the progress it’s made in the past few decades. We oppress harmless groups that we may not share lifestyles with when we should be protecting those we share humanity with.