My name is JC and I want my story to be shared to illustrate the importance of parental support and gender affirming care for trans youth.
I am a woman of trans-experience and a provider for the LGBTQ+ community. I have 21 years of experience working with LGBTQ+ issues, and 9 years of experience working with HIV, immigration, and individuals who are affected by Social Disparities who do not have access to quality Health Care. In addition, I am an established PrEP Coordinator, Recovery Peer Counselor/ Interventionist and a PROUD parent to a well-established, educated, and academically successful queer child.
Furthermore, I have collaborated with a diverse group of organizations in South Florida, and I am one of the co-founders of TTHP United. TTHP United is new trans-lead organization based in South Florida, with the goal of providing safe housing options for transgender individuals, along with community resources, education, and advocacy.
I was not always the successful career driven woman that I am today. I first attempted to socially transition in the late 90’s at the age of 14, but I did not have parental support or access to gender affirming healthcare. I came from an extremely religious home that did not believe in affirming children and I was threatened with radical and inhumane forms of conversion treatment. Some from religious leaders and others from institutions. Out of fear for my safety, I left my home and ran away to New York City.
In NYC I turned to childhood prostitution as a mean to survive and purchase black market hormone injections.
Most of the people – “the Johns” that engaged in sexual activity with me were older cisgender heterosexual white males in corporate America. I experienced rape, assault, and abuse – emotional, physical and phycological. I experienced homeless and hunger. That was my reality and no youth should ever have to go through this. This is why this issue is important to me, and remains close to my heart. I do not want any child regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation to ever have to go through what myself and others had to go through on the streets of New York. I have worked so hard to overcome years of childhood trauma and maintain a stable lively hood.
The same adults that were meant to protect me when I was an adolescent are the same types of adults rallying to stop gender affirming health care for youth in Florida and the same kind of adults who oppressed me through religious arguments and radical views.
Today they use the slogan let “kids be kids.” What about trans kids? Does that argument not apply? I say, let trans kids be trans kids!!! That is what we ask. Protect them and give the quality health care they need. Remember, our youth are resourceful, but turning to black market (HRT) “Hormone Replacement Therapy” will put their health at risk and endanger their life. The fear of being institutionalized or forced to undergo conversion therapy was what lead to me attempting suicide, running away, and turning to childhood prostitution.
The rate of suicide amongst trans youth are extremely high and is rapidly increasing. A National Survey on LGBTQ Youth, conducted by the Trevor project, documented that 45% of LGBTQ youth have seriously considered committing suicide in the past calendar year, which included more than half of the youth identifying as transgender and non-binary kids. Furthermore, 1/3 kids in that study reported coming from homes that were not gender affirming, and those that did have gender affirming families reported better social and mental outcomes.
Would you deny your own child medical treatment that can help keep them alive? I do not think so! Then why should we deny our children access to gender affirming health care.
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