A transgender woman with more than 25,000 followers on TikTok is urging parents of transgender children living in Alabama to flee the state following passage of a ban on transgender health care.
Marie Willa, known as MissWilla on TikTok, begged parents in Alabama to move their children out of the state and to “somewhere safe.”
“I come to you tonight on a very serious note with a dire warning and a plea for help,” Willa said in the video. “If you are the parent of a transgender child that is 19 or under and you live in the state of Alabama, your child lives in the state of Alabama, get out.
Get your child out, to somewhere safe,” she continued, her voice choking with sadness. “They have just made it a felony to provide any gender-affirming care to any transgender person age 19 or younger.
“That’s going to drive the suicide rate up just astronomically high,” said Willa. “Please, get your children to safety, get yourself to safety. Help us, please?”
The video has received more than 187,000 likes and generated more than 12,000 comments.
Willa followed up with another TikTok video responding to a user from Georgia who asked how they could help trans youth from Alabama.
“Silence and inaction of good people has always been the greatest tool used by oppressors of marginalized communities,” Willa said in the second video.
She also urged LGBTQ advocates and allies of the transgender community to get involved, “make some noise,” engage in peaceful protest, and involve the business community (local and national) to help hold politicians accountable for the anti-trans law’s passage. She also suggested creating a “network of safe havens” where transgender youth can find support outside of Alabama.
The bill in question, different version of which have passed the State House of Representatives and Senate, would make it a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a $15,000 fine, or both, for any doctor to recommend or prescribe gender-affirming treatment like puberty blockers or hormone therapy, to a person under age 19. The bill also forces school officials to “out” students struggling with their gender identity or who don’t conform to gender norms to their parents.
The House and Senate have to work out differences between their respective bills, but if the House ends up buckling to the Senate’s will — omitting a provision that would allow psychologists to provide therapy to those suffering from gender dysphoria without fear of prosecution, for example — the bill could pass within the week and be headed to Gov. Kay Ivey (R) for her signature into law.
Dr. Sarah Mulder, a private licensed clinical psychologist affiliated with Longwood Psychological Center in Huntsville, Ala., who works closely with LGBTQ clients, told Huntsville-based Fox affiliate WZDX that Alabama’s proposed law has the potential to increase suicidal ideation and self-harming behaviors among transgender children who feel their physical body does not reflect their true identity.
“I have a lot of patients who are expressing a lot of anxiety and fear, either about the possibility of not being able to start medical gender transition or about that being interrupted,” she said. “Dysphoria, or the pain that comes from living in the body that’s not not congruent with one’s gender identity, is really acutely painful. So, telling someone ‘Hey, here’s this thing that will help. But you can’t have it — or you can’t have it yet,’ has been really devastating, particularly for my youth who might not understand why this is happening.”
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