By: Julie Loomis 

Word on the Street Issue 44, June 2024

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So I have been doing research on transgender and the Idaho laws that affect those in our community, including our homeless transgender population. For such a small population, our state is spending quite a lot of time and money to take away their rights. I have friends that are transgender and homeless. These laws could cripple them.

What does transgender mean? Wikipedia says, ”A transgender person is someone whose gender identity differs from typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth.”  This term doesn’t say it’s a choice. US News states that “more than 50% of youths that are transgender or non binary across the US have considered suicide in the past year.”  This is who they are and taking away their rights will not change their need to have their identity changed. 

This is a vulnerable population that has so much to deal with and having the government take away the medical needs is cruel.  Many transgenders are rejected from their families and are left homeless. This is a difficult thing they live with most of their lives. Most transgender have medicine to help them transition and some will have some surgery to match their sex.

Only about 1/3 of the population will do a full transition and most are over 21 years. The population that does a full transformation only 1% regrets it.

Gender dysphoria is an actual real diagnosis that affects thousands of transgenders.  It’s an extreme dislike of one’s appearance and a transgender will hate being the wrong gender.  This causes terrible anxiety and depression. This causes increase in suicidal tendencies. Taking away transgender treatments is like pushing them over the edge. I think it is cruel to take away the ability to treat this disorder and cause more damage to an individual who has suffered enough without the government playing doctor. The only way most transgender individuals feel whole. The missing piece is found.

The bill that the Idaho governor signed in is house bill 668 that was sponsored by R- Julianne Young Blackfoot and R-Bruce Skaug Nampa.  This is the most damaging bill for our  transgender population. “To establish provisions prohibiting the use of public funds for gender transition procedures.” The bill also says “To establish provisions prohibiting the use of public funds the use of public funds for gender transitions procedures;providing severability; and declaring an emergency and providing an effective date.  So basically transgender will not be able to use Medicaid to transition, stop treatment that they have already started.  So the government is dictating how a transgender should be treated. This is not reasonable. This is just one of the many laws in action to prevent humane treatment of this population. The majority of the laws are geared toward children and take away parental rights. I encourage you to read the other laws that affect young transgenders.

So how can we help the transgender community? First let the Idaho Legislature know that this is not a good way to spend our tax dollars. The money they are spending to fight to keep these laws would easily help the homeless community to get affordable housing. Most homeless transgenders have been struggling with just being accepted. It’s hard to keep a job and they need help like everyone else.