Posted on: May 8, 2023 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Transgender in 2023

The political climate

The humans affected

The Moraine experience

By Mio Ovalle

Aidan McGuire

and Nick Stulga

Graphics by Emily Stephens

A Glacier Special Report

Five hundred and thirty-seven.

That’s the number of anti-transgender bills that have been proposed across the country in 2023 so far–three times as many as all of last year. Of them, 64 have been passed, creating an uncertain future for the LGBTQIA+ community.

The legislation targets transgender youth in particular, from restricting access to bathrooms and health care, to banning trans girls and women from playing sports, to banning drag performances. Some bills even go out of their way to prevent school staff and students from using students’ preferred pronouns and names.

This political climate is leading to a mental health crisis for transgender youth. As NPR reports, “A 2022 survey by the Trevor Project, a suicide prevention group focused on LGBTQ youth, found that 86 percent of trans or nonbinary youth reported negative effects on their mental health stemming from the political debate around trans issues, and nearly half had seriously considered suicide in the past year.”

Moraine Valley student Mio Ovalle is among those confronting the effects of the 2023 political climate while being transgender. Ovalle, who is a Glacier freelance contributor, decided to share their experience–as well as the experience of some of their transgender friends–as part of this special report.

Meanwhile here at Moraine, some resources meant to help the LGBTQIA+ community disappeared in recent months. Members of Moraine Valley’s Gender and Sexuality Progress club (GASP!) reached out to the administration. On March 28, they met with key administrators to bring up several concerns, including the removal of sections from the college’s LGBTQIA+ resources webpage, inadequate bathroom signage, and worries about being “deadnamed” by Moraine’s computers. 

Six weeks later, GASP! members are upset that they haven’t seen any progress, and they haven’t received a follow-up response from the administration. So we asked Moraine administrators what’s happening.

Click on the links below to see more of our look at the political climate, the humans affected, and the Moraine experience.

The political climate

Across the country, a flurry of anti-trans legislation is taking place. As trans activist Erin Reed tells The Glacier, “Three or four years ago, it was just transgender people in sports, and that was all anybody talked about. Now it’s trans people and our medical care, pronouns, bathrooms, everything.”

The humans affected

“It’s about living in a way that’s beyond this shell you were born in,” writes MV student Mio Ovalle. “It’s hatching from the shell. And allowing your true self, which has always existed within, to come out…Some of us, myself included, find it incredibly painful to live in our bodies. No matter how hard we’ve tried, no matter how we try to think about it, we still cannot rid ourselves of the pain these bodies bring us.”

The Moraine experience

Members of Moraine’s GASP! club are frustrated that concerns they expressed to administrators six weeks ago have not been addressed. Watch an interview with GASP! member Rain Yamich, and the response from Moraine’s executive director for diversity, equity and inclusion, Rory Smith.