Growing up Alyssa

21 May 2023

When I was 10, I came out as transgender. I was a girl and I knew it.

I was one of the lucky ones.

After four painful years, I was fortunate enough to access gender-affirming health care. First testosterone blockers. Later estrogen, the stuff my peers soaked in for years while I threw myself into software development to distract from pain.

Despite being old enough to go through the wrong puberty and suffer its permanent changes, it took four years to access the medical fix. Four years of gender therapy, hard talks with doctors, and a lot of determination.

There’s a vicious myth that kids just walk into clinics and leave with hormones. Quite the opposite.

I was lucky: my parents supported me, and by then we lived near San Francisco, where a gender clinic was willing to take me as patient.

I’m 21 now. I’ll be blunt: if not for gender-affirming care, I don’t know if I would be around. If there would be FOSS graphics drivers for Mali-T860 or the Apple M1.

If I were a few years younger, lived in the wrong part of the US, that may well be the reality, because gender-affirming care is banned for minors in conservative areas across the United States. Texas, for example, would threaten to take me from my loving parents under Greg Abbott’s directive.

Even now, I’m lucky I don’t live in the wrong place: the medication I’m prescribed is banned for adults in several American states.

I fear the 2024 election. How long until there’s a ban nationwide?

In high school, I knew this day might come. I applied to Canadian universities. Canada isn’t perfect, far from it. But stripping trans rights isn’t on the ballot yet.

Growing up, we liked visiting Florida.

Now there are travel advisories against it.

One recent Florida law threatens jail time if a trans person uses the bathroom - any bathroom - in a public space. I remember in high school, arguing back against “bathroom bills” designed to marginalize trans people. They seem tame next to the vile attacks on trans people championed by Ron DeSantis.

What’s next?

Does anybody remember the Nuremberg laws?

I was raised Jewish. Growing up, we were haunted by the spectre of the Holocaust. I knew queer Germans were in the cross-hairs alongside Jews. I didn’t know that Berlin was a queer centre before Hitler came to power.

In high school, I understood if fascists came to power in the United States, I might be first to go. Nazis had a special symbol for people like me: a pink triangle superimposed on a yellow triangle. I was 16 when I wondered if one day I would be forced to wear it.

In 2020, Donald Trump used the Nazi’s symbol for political prisoners – forced to be worn in camps – to threaten leftists in a campaign ad.


You don’t need to like Democrats, but I need you to understand that if you vote Republican in 2024, you vote erasure. You vote oppression. You vote fascism.

Maybe you “just have some concerns” about trans kids.

I was a trans kid, and I want you to know that DeSantis, Abbott, and Trump were my nightmares. Their policies will lead to the deaths of transgender Americans. With hundreds of GOP-sponsored anti-trans bills and laws simultaneously sweeping the United States, it’s hard to believe this isn’t by design.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

The trans experience isn’t inherently defined by suffering. Not for trans kids, not for trans adults.

When treated with respect, allowed to transition, when we can access the medication we know we need, life can be great.

Personally, I have felt virtually no gender-related discomfort in years now.

I once recoiled at my reflection. Now I look in the mirror and smile at the cute woman smiling back at me. I’m surrounded by lovely friends, and we support each other. Laugh together. Cry together. Text endless stickers of cartoon sharks together. Past the shared struggle, there is immense trans joy.

When we are made to suffer – by banning our medication, arresting us for peeing, legislating our identities out of existence on the road to establishing a theocratic state – that is a policy choice.

We’re not asking for much. We don’t want special treatment. We just want respect. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Right now I want legislators to get the fuck out of our doctors’ office.

I’m on the board overseeing Linux graphics. Half of us are trans. If all you care about is Linux, resist the attacks on trans people.

If you have any decency, fight back.

It’s your choice.

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