Alabama Trans Teen: Trans Medical Bill Is Driving Me Crazy; It’s like locking up a baby because you want to be a baby.
This is an opinion column.
It was the dress for her. Or he – back then.
E’ona Duncan Boyd was 13 years old when he took a girl to the middle school prom in Fairfield. Five years later, Boyd still remembers the dress she wore. Not so much how it looked as how Boyd felt about it.
“I saw it and thought I want this dress,” Boyd recalls. “I bought it [after the prom] and when I tried it on I was like, oh wow, that looks really beautiful on me.”
Wearing that dress, seeing yourself in that dress, being validated as Boyd long felt. Long knew.
That she identified as female.
More on Alabama’s transbills:
Alabama bill banning transgender therapy for minors wins committee vote
Alabama to ban puberty blockers, hormones, for minors with gender dysphoria progress
The Alabama House passes legislation restricting bathroom access for transgender students
Alabama GOP loves playing doctor with trans kids
“I was never a manly boy; I’ve always been feminine,” she says. “I’ve never looked manly; I’ve always looked feminine. I never hung out with the boys and I didn’t fit in with the boys. I always go with the females.”
Knows more about being transgender than our state legislatures know or are adamant to know. About to knowsometimes at a very young age.
Very soon, a doctor in this state who is prescribing hormones or drugs, helping transgender youth—transgender youth who know about it—with their sex reassignment surgery, or performing transitional surgery on anyone under the age of 19 would be committing a crime. You could go to prison for up to 10 years even if youth Whiteeven if they are supported by their parents, by their family.
Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, is the architect of a bill — an ill-informed bill according to most medical experts. A bill that claims to “protect” minors but lacks credible data showing they need to be protected. Except from the likes of Shelnutt and lawmakers who roll with him.
The bill, which could soon be finalized by the Alabama House and sent to Gov. Kay Ivey’s desk, would become legislation that would spit in the face of young people like Boyd. Young people who to know.
“[The bill] makes me angry,” says Boyd. “I don’t think that’s fair at all. You cannot set an age at which someone may or may not transition, especially if the system’s doctor supports that person’s transition and they understand what they are going through.
“[Alabama lawmakers] want want to lock [doctors] away to understand instead of trying to help [young people] to be the person they really want to be,” she says. “It’s not fair. It’s like locking up a baby because it wants to be a baby. You can’t. It doesn’t make sense.”
Despite knowing it, Boyd couldn’t share it with her parents, not at first.
She wanted to tell them, but was afraid. Scared because they often told homophobic jokes in Boyd’s presence. “That stopped me from telling them,” she says. “So I would always tell my friends or people I call my parents about it.”
Among these “parents” were aunts (we have them all). They gave Boyd some of their own hormones. Gave her estrogen. Gave her spironolactone, which fights hirsutism — hair growth where women don’t want hair.
Then Boyd, still a young teenager, started getting his hair done, started wearing more feminine clothes.
As she tiptoed towards the crossing, Boyd’s sister also got angry. She was the only girl among the children in the family. Until Boyd knew.
“She felt like I was trying to take her place,” says Boyd. “When I started wanting to switch, it tore something between me and her.”
Boyd, around the age of 16, began seeing a doctor at a facility run by the state Department of Human Resources. Started getting advice.
“They wanted to make sure I really wanted to do this,” she says, “not just something someone told me to do.”
Not everyone White, Of course. Not every teen, trans or not, knows what they want as an adult or who they want to be.
That’s what Shelnutt and his ilk bet on in this state without a lottery. They’re banking on the few who might change their minds about the transition, rather than respecting those who know.
Boyd knows a young teenager who didn’t quite know to know. They lived in the same DHR-managed facility.
“Me and her, we were close,” she says. “We were like sisters because she was transgender and I was transgender. But there were times when she didn’t know if she wanted to be a boy or a girl. She was always male. She’s tried on a few [clothes] and they wouldn’t fit as well as they would for me. So she’d be like, ‘Oh, well, I still have muscles and facial hair; I should only be a boy.’
“She said what if she changes and then doesn’t like the result.
“I just told her: before you do anything, first make sure it’s really what you want to do. re going to do with your body. Because once you’ve done that with your body, you can’t go back. There are no reboots or resets.”
I can see Shelnutt now – reading this and hurling it across the Senate floor and yelling, Look, look, I told you so…
What he doesn’t see, however, is the words of Boyd, his attorney, who is now 18, demonstrate this White more about it than the state legislature. She knows there are already numerous systems in place – formal and informal – that protect young people far better than this bill.
Hypocritical Republican leaders of Alabama are shouting surpass Whenever President Biden dares to email our state but reach himself — into a woman’s womb, into classrooms and public school bathrooms, and with this bill into a doctor’s office and into decisions that a patient and his Be given the freedom to family (republicans use that word a lot too) to recognize it.
“There’s more of us these days,” says Boyd, “who come out early and recognize, understand what we’re doing and what we want to be.”
The soon-to-be-enacted law states that our state feels that a bunch of people in Montgomery know more than the people who know.
“How you do that?” Boyd asks me rhetorically. “Just because some people want it or don’t want it [transition] does not mean that you can force your opinion and make that decision for them. Because they do. You decide to prevent the transition of someone at an early age [that person] actually finding out and understanding what they want to do.”
If this person White. Knows more than some of our legislators.
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Roy S. Johnson is a 2021 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Commentary and a 2021 Edward R. Morrow Prize Winner for Podcasts: “Unjustifiable,” co-hosted with John Archibald. His column appears in The Birmingham News and AL.com, as well as the Huntsville Times, the Mobile Press Register. Reach him below [email protected]follow him up twitter.com/roysjor on Instagram @roysj.