Excerpt from The Impact of Toxic Hate and Shame from Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation Upon LGBTQ Youth final paper for 2022 Liberation Theologies course – Part 2
Conservatives have been relentless in their attempt to maintain the status quo of heteronormativity and patriarchy through their continued attacks via state legislature proposals that target LGBTQ youth and adults. Since 2020, we have seen an exponential increase of state legislatures specifically targeting LGBTQ youth. The impacts of trauma and toxic shame from these proposed bills and laws will have a detrimental effect on the emotional and spiritual well-being of LGBTQ youth. Opportunities of healing from this toxic hate and shaming will be needed for this community to become flourishing self-loving individuals.
In a recent conversation on NPR, Dr. Jack Turban, chief fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry, Stanford University School of Medicine talked about how “minority stress” impacts LGBTQ youth. This trauma is due to the negative treatment by society that affects the mental health of LGBTQ individuals. The current political debates regarding gender-affirming medical care of trans youth may cause these youth to have more anxiety and depression and eventually they may cause internalized transphobia with long-acting impact on their lives as they become adults.
While most Americans support the LGBTQ community, there are some white cisgendered men in Texas who continue to perpetuate the notions of heteronormativity by arguing in favor of the current state policy regarding the consideration of gender-affirming medical care for youth as being a form of child abuse. Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General argues that he does not believe these trans youth can make decisions on their own for this medical care. This will add to the trauma and toxic shame these trans youth may already be experiencing. The exponential increase of state legislatures are examples of fear the dominant culture is experiencing because conversations like these are attacking the status quo. The impacts of Black Lives Matters, #metoo, marriage equality, and the “browning of America” is generating panic in those who believe they will no longer be in the majority or the dominant culture and exclaiming “it’s not a traditional America anymore.”  The word traditional here is being used as code for the colonizing narrative of the white majority who controls the dominant culture and continues to promote white self-sufficient masculinity.
The insidious nature of how conservative Christians in state governments continue their efforts to erase LGBTQ youth can be seen at the very beginning of this year’s pride month. On Wednesday, June 1, 2022, Ohio House legislature added an anti-transgender amendment to an unrelated bill for substitute teachers in schools. This new addition is called “The Save Women’s Sports Act.” The heteronormative and transphobic language used in this amendment speaks directly to the patriarchal nature of ignoring the individual’s right to choose their gender expression. This Act bans anyone “of the male sex” from taking part in any women’s sport in any public or private schools or interscholastic sports within Ohio. There is also a transphobic provision included that will allow individuals to contest the gender expressed by an individual and demand the accused to prove their gender.
Sub. HB 151 also includes a line that requires a transgender person, or participant whose “sex is disputed,” to prove their sex with a signed physician’s statement including information about their “internal and external reproductive anatomy,” their testosterone levels and an analysis of their genetic makeup.
These kinds of laws amount to state-sanctioned child abuse, sexual assault, and can be seen as state-sponsored terrorism towards our LGBTQ youth. Some of the challenges being experienced by medical and mental health professionals in these states are that these laws can been seen to violate their professional standards of ethics and can be seen as inflicting serious damage upon their patients and clients. The implementation of these unjust systems can be seen as attacks upon LGBTQ youth that create instances of individual and communal suffering that appears to be very similar to feeling of han experienced by people in Korea.
 (Kim & Shaw, 2018, p. xiv) – “the matrix of domination, that place where intersecting social identities and institutions of power overlap.”
 (Cardona, Madigan, & Sauer-Zavala, 2021) “Identity-related minority stressors may function as group-specific forms of invalidation, disrupting [sexual and gender minority] individuals’ ability to identify, understand, and effectively utilize their emotions.” p. 1
 (Turban, 2022)
 (Turban, 2022)
 (Turban, 2022)
 (Lagos, 2022)
 (Paxton, 2022)
 (Klein, 2018)
 “Tradition is peer pressure from dead people.” – Goody Howard, MSW, MPH, Sexologist. AASECT 2022 Virtual Conference. Speaker at Schiller Plenary: The Path to Professionalism: Who Gets to Be a Sex Educator?.
 (Jennings, 2020, p. 57)
 (Feuerborn, 2022)
 (Feuerborn, 2022)
 (Marques, 2022)
 (Burns, 2022)
 (Kim Y. H., 2020)
Burns, K. (2022, March 2). ‘When a child tells you who they are, believe them’: the psychologist taking on Texas’ antitrans policies. Guardian News & Media Limited. Retrieved from https://www-proquest-com.du.idm.oclc.org/docview/2635107487?accountid=14608
Cardona, N. D., Madigan, R., & Sauer-Zavala, S. (2021, Dec. 23). How minority stress becomes traumatic invalidation: An emotion-focused conceptualization of minority stress in sexual and gender minority people. Clinical Psychology, Vol. 29 (2), pp. p.185-195e. doi:DOI:10.1037/cps0000054
Feuerborn, M. (2022, June 2). Ohio transgender athlete ban tucked inside unrelated House bill. Retrieved from Fox 8 News: https://fox8.com/news/ohio-transgender-athlete-ban-tucked-inside-unrelated-house-bill/
Jennings, W. J. (2020). After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company.
Kim, G. J.-S., & Shaw, S. (2018). Intersectional Theology: An Introductory Guide. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.
Kim, Y. H. (2020). Theodicy, Undeserved Suffering, and Compassionate Solidarity: An Interdisciplinary Reading of Hwang Sok-Yong’s The Guest. Religions(11(9)), 463. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11090463
Klein, E. (2018, July 30). White threat in a browning America:How demographic change is fracturing our politics. Retrieved from Vox: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/7/30/17505406/trump-obama-race-politics-immigration
Lagos, M. (2022, Mar 17). Taking Cues from Texas and Florida, More States Propose Bills Targeting Queer and Trans Youth. Retrieved from NPR – Forum: https://www.kqed.org/forum/2010101888336/taking-cues-from-texas-and-florida-more-states-propose-bills-targeting-queer-and-trans-youth
Marques, R. (2022, Mar 8). State Laws, State Agencies and State-Sponsored Fear Are Being Weaponized Against Transgender Children. Retrieved from Human Rights Campaign: https://www.hrc.org/news/state-laws-state-agencies-and-state-sponsored-fear-are-being-weaponized-against-transgender-children
Paxton, K. T. (2022, February 18). Opinion No. KP-0401. Austin,, TX. Retrieved from https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/sites/default/files/global/KP-0401.pdf
Turban, D. J. (2022, March 17). Taking Cues from Texas and Florida, More States Propose Bills Targeting Queer and Trans Youth. (M. Lagos, Interviewer) NPR. KQED. Retrieved from https://www.kqed.org/forum/2010101888336/taking-cues-from-texas-and-florida-more-states-propose-bills-targeting-queer-and-trans-youth
© Daniel Borysewicz, MDiv, CSR 2022 | Liberation Theologies Final Paper | Iliff School of Theology