Article by Brendan Flanagan | Owl Staff

A flag waves in the air representing trans people all over the world. (Photo: NBC 6)

In the past few years, transgender issues have become a big topic of debate in America. Between the many anti-LGBTQ+ bills presented so far this year and states like Florida becoming national epicenters for these bills, the future is very uncertain for those affected. Owl Media sat down with people informed on and affected by the current political climate, including Harford Community College alumni and staff, to gain more insight.

Former Owl Media Editor Audrey Merkel shines light on what’s happening to those affected.

“You’re seeing these things like trans children potentially getting taken out of their homes, not being able to transition, or potentially not even being able to go out in public dressed as the gender that you present as, even as an adult.”

Bip, a trans man who wishes to remain anonymous because his family is not aware of his identity, spoke out about how the political climate in Ohio has affected him.

“It has caused a lot of paranoia and has led to me considering drastic decision such as leaving the country.”

Nena Craven, a Sociology professor at HCC, explains how these bills can affect non-LGBTQ people as well.

“I am a cisgender heterosexual woman, so trans right aren’t going to affect my life as directly as they would a trans person, but there are ways that it will affect me indirectly,” states Craven. “It can affect my work because I am out as an ally at work, and I do a lot of professional development and a lot of student service things around LGBTQ+ populations. There’s a danger that if some of these legislations that we’re looking at go through, I could be seen as someone who’s inappropriate to be around children.”

Winter Nettles, a former HCC student, shares how she views the current political climate.

“There are concerns based on things that aren’t made in good faith, there’s a lot of disinfo. After the midterms, a lot of Republicans didn’t do fantastically like they hoped, so I think it’s going to mobilize a lot of people in favor of queer rights.”

Even though trans people are being targeted with many of these bills, some think there’s something else going on, Audrey Merkel shares her thoughts.

“I think the conversation needs to be reframed and people need to wake up to what’s actually happening. Trans people are being used as a pawn right now in a conversation that is being made to look like it’s about trans people, and I personally don’t think it is. I think it’s about misogyny more,” states Merkel. “Trans people don’t matter to fascists, what matters to fascists is controlling people… When you vilify a certain type of person, what you’re really telling the rest of society is you need to be a certain way and that way is not this.”

With all the uncertainty going around, the most important thing is to come together.

“If you are trans and you’re out, just continue to exist in your community and disprove these narratives… It’s going to be obvious to people around you that this person is just a person,” Merkel adds. “They’re not a predator, they’re not trying to corrupt my children or anything. They’re just doing their job, going home, playing video games, just doing the same things that everyone else does.”

“We can of course, contact our senators, we can protest. What we really need to do is try to encourage others to be more active,” explains Bip. “We know how to do it. It’s just that we need to make ourselves, and those with us, feel like at least the more of us there are, the more effective it will be.”

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