Telling Trans Stories: Adam

by Guest contributor

Across the country, state legislatures are trying to pass dangerous bills that attack transgender kids. From legislation preventing kids from playing sports to others that would prevent access to gender-affirming care, these bills are harmful and must be stopped. We're sharing the stories of trans kids and their families to highlight why they deserve the same rights and opportunities as everyone else. If you want to get involved, text PROTECT to 472-472 and join us in the fight for trans equality.*

You can explore all of our Telling Trans Stories series on Instagram.

Adam is an 8th grader in Tennessee who loves playing video games and spending time with his family and friends. We talked with him and his mom, Amy, about the legislation being filed nationwide that would harm trans kids like Adam.

“We moved to Tennessee in 2018 just before I started the 6th grade and I came out as trans later on in the school year. Our neighborhood got rezoned before 7th grade so I was able to attend a new school — it felt like a fresh start, getting to meet classmates and teachers using my real name and being my authentic self. Of course, I still encountered issues like which bathrooms I could use and feel safe. My school asked that I use the guidance counselor’s bathroom or the one in the nurse’s office, which really made me feel ‘othered’ and just made me stand out more.”

“A lot of people don’t understand how important it is for a trans person to be addressed with their real name and the harm deadnaming can cause. I remember a few times when a substitute teacher would take attendance with a sheet that listed my deadname. It was just a shock to my system every time — you don’t know how to react in that moment, you just sit there in silence wondering what people will say and how they’ll look at you. It’s a horrible experience.”

“I used to be a teacher before we moved and had students who were trans. I know how important it is to create a school environment where kids feel safe, feel seen, and that was what I wanted for Adam to have after he came out to us. My biggest concern was his safety — how would other students treat him? How could his teachers and school counselors make sure he had the same opportunities as everyone else? I spent so much time talking with school staff to ensure everything was in place for him to be safe and happy.”

“These bills being filed nationwide, including the ones here in Tennessee, are infuriating. It’s frustrating seeing public servants who are supposed to advocate for their constituents try to pass legislation that would harm so many. I always try to remain kind when I send letters or place calls, but is anyone listening? Our own state representative who’s publicly supported these bills has declined my invitations to meet with Adam and me, the very people they’re supposed to represent. This isn’t how elected officials should behave.”

“These anti-trans bills suck. There’s no better way of saying it. The issues they’re making laws to protect against don’t exist, instead they’re creating problems where there are none. These bills will have a really bad effect on kids like me everywhere and are just going to hurt people if passed.”

“To these representatives, I would say that your actions have consequences, and those consequences are going to be a huge detriment to trans kids’ mental health and well-being. It’s hard enough being a trans kid, not knowing if you’ll be bullied at school, but to have politicians who supposedly have the good of the people at heart do this is so upsetting. They’re being bullies!"

“To all the trans kids out there, just know you aren’t alone. I know it’s a saying that gets used a lot, but it truly does get better. Know that we’re here for you, I’m here for you — I hope everyone finds that person who will always listen to and believe in you no matter what.”

“If you’re the parent of a trans child and feel disheartened by this legislation, know that’s not the majority of people - most people wouldn’t support these bills if they really knew what was happening and the harms of it. There’s more of us than you would think. It’s a matter of finding your people and connecting with the groups that can make a difference and support you.”

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