We Must Protect SC's Transgender Youth

Growing up in Anderson County, I didn't know anyone like me. Of course, I didn't really know myself either. It would take me until I was 29 years old to realize: I am transgender—born a girl in body but a man in soul, heart, and mind.

Because I was an adult when I finally came to understand my own identity, I'll never know how my parents would have reacted to a young transgender kid living under their roof. As an adult coming out, I didn't need my parents' approval or help to transition and become the person I am today. But they eventually gave it, especially after they saw the peace and confidence I gained after transitioning and living my life as a man.

As a trans man, I read the anti-LGBTQ bills filed this session with anger and sadness. The ban on health care for transgender young people hits especially hard.

I see myself in the children and young adults who, if these bills become law, may not know the joy of living authentically. And as a father, I see myself in the adults—parents, teachers, physicians—who could be denied the right to offer care, acceptance, and a sense of belonging to the young people in our state who are so deserving of it.

I hope that we will all choose to see ourselves in the kids with bright futures who want to be the authors of their own stories, the parents offering love and acceptance through gender-affirming care, the physicians dedicated to providing evidence-based treatment to their patients, and the educators who should not be forced to "out" a child who confides in them.

Defeating these bills will require us to see them for what they are—unconstitutional attacks on all of us. Tell your lawmakers to vote no on any gender-affirming care bans.

As the first transgender Executive Director in ACLU history, a South Carolina native, and a dad, I'm proud to be working with you to defend our rights.

Thanks for sticking with us,

Jace Woodrum

Jace Woodrum
Pronouns: He, him, his
Executive Director, ACLU of South Carolina