Testimony from a transgender teen in Texas
Last week, the Texas Family and Protective Services Council had a meeting where scores of people spoke in support of trans youth receiving gender-affirming care, and the families and doctors providing the medical treatment. Here is the testimony from one transgender youth, lightly edited for clarity and published with their permission.
My name is Kayden Asher and I am a transgender foster alumni. I came out for the first time at 13, but knew something was different about me since I was 4 or 5. Growing up I acted the part I was told to. When puberty hit and my body started to change I began to hate myself. I could feel that there was something wrong with the way I looked. I didn’t even know there was a word for what I was feeling until I did my own research. That’s when I realized I was trans.
When I finally came out to my family I was immediately told it was a phase and not to tell anyone. I knew back then I would be bullied but being bullied was better to me than being in the closet. When I was 15, I met another trans person at my school and decided to finally come out to everyone. When I did, my assistant principal called my father and outed me without my permission.
That day, when I got home, we got in a huge fight that led to me being held down on my bed so I wouldn’t move while my father yelled at me. It got to a point where I couldn’t breathe because my dad’s girlfriend was sitting on my chest so I screamed. My dad slapped me and told me to stop exaggerating. That day I tried again to kill myself. The next week I told my principal about what happened. When I got home my dad had apparently been told by my school that I reported him.
The next weekend I overdosed on all of my medication and had to go to the hospital. While in the ambulance, I could hear him complaining in the front seat about having to go to the hospital with me. I went to a mental hospital for the fourth time within two months that day. The doctor knew by then it wasn’t me, but my dad, so he called CPS.
CPS almost sent me home after all of that. The only reason they didn’t was because I said if I went back I would kill myself within 24 hours. Even while in foster care and being out as trans, people didn’t take me seriously. At 17 I decided to start testosterone.
At first, my caseworker supported the idea, but my Court Appointed Special Advocate stated only a judge could make that decision. Which wasn’t true. In actuality, we just needed to inform CPS based on policy. I even got therapist, doctor and psychologist letters of recommendation for it. Four months later I was finally able to start after they went to the regional director to ask if I could do it. That was 11 months ago.
Since starting, my mental health has improved more than I ever imagined. I was finally able to get off my antidepressants and only be on ADHD meds. The feeling of my voice lowering was pure bliss. Sounds weird, but it made the world of a difference. Now my sex identifier on official documents says male as well. I am and always will be a man.
When we say that gender-affirming care isn’t child abuse we mean it. Without it, I would be dead. I was actually abused and the thought that supportive parents can be charged with abuse for loving their children is unacceptable. I’ve met many parents of trans kids this past year and they are the kindest people ever. As someone who went through the system and was failed multiple times by it, this is not how you fix things. All this does is raise foster care numbers and ruin lives. This needs to stop now.