Op-ed: I’m not your political weapon

Young activists protest against a slate of Republican anti trans bills outside of the New Hampshire State House in March 2023. (Colin Booth/Granite Post)

By Alice Wade

January 2, 2024

I’m a trans woman and I’m happy, it’s really that simple. I recently graduated from college with a mechanical engineering degree and I’m now working as an aerospace engineer in the Seacoast area. I just finished applying to graduate school, and I’m excited about my future career. I’ve happily moved in with my boyfriend recently, and I never would have had the confidence to make anything like this happen before my transition.

Yet every time I look at the news, I see anti-transgender politicians whipping up a frenzy about how terrible it is that kids are learning about what it means to be transgender, or even that we exist at all.

Specifically, when our state representatives come to Concord for the first day of session on Wednesday, January 3rd, they’ll be voting on two bills from last year that attack transgender people like me, and they’ll have the opportunity to advance two positive bills that would support us.

The bills would ban medical care for transgender adolescents (HB 619) and undermine New Hampshire’s law against discrimination that includes transgender people (HB 396). The positive bills would make New Hampshire a safer state for transgender people from other states to receive medical care (HB 368) and would make it easier to change a name and gender marker on a birth certificate (HB 264).

My experience with gender-affirming care began when I was 16 and first told my therapist that I thought I was transgender. She helped me greatly in understanding myself and what the process for gender-affirming care was. I was desperate to start hormone therapy as soon as possible since I knew the longer I waited, the more irreversible the changes from puberty would become. I eventually was referred to an endocrinologist who provided gender-affirming care which was a huge relief. My mental health began drastically improving soon after, and nowadays I’m happier with who I am than ever.

Now, HB 619 threatens to take away the lifeline that gender-affirming care provided me as a teenager for all trans adolescents across New Hampshire.

Additionally, because some states like Florida have already criminalized medical care for transgender people, some of us are seeking care in other states. HB 368 would preserve independence for New Hampshire medical care providers, preventing other states from reaching into our state and demanding private medical information and compliance with their laws.

It’s challenging to change your entire wardrobe, to change your voice to match your appearance, to come out to everyone you know and get them used to your preferred name, and to face discrimination in social settings, just to name a few. New Hampshire passed statewide nondiscrimination protections in 2018, but now, some politicians are advancing HB 396, which attempts to undermine these protections by adding a loophole to discriminate based on “biological sex.” I live as a woman every day, but anti-trans lawmakers are trying to reduce me to my “biological sex” in an attempt to re-legalize prejudice.

These politicians don’t see me for who I am, they see me as a tool to scare parents into thinking that their kids might become transgender just from learning about it in school. So much of the focus is on “protecting kids”, but in reality, they’re just preventing kids who need the care from getting it.

I’m tired of being your weapon for fear-mongering, I’m tired of legislators restricting my rights for no reason, and I’m tired of being scared that someone will find out that I’m transgender because my voice is too deep or my shoulders are too broad. I just want to live my life and be happy as I am.

We’re doing better than before in a lot of ways, but backlash and backsliding are always a risk with progressive social change. I joined 603 Equality, a grassroots advocacy group for LGBTQ+ rights in New Hampshire because I feel compelled to fight back against the narrative. To prevent anti-trans politicians from spouting lies to rile up their base against us, to cut through the rhetoric and get to the truth, to show how these bans are targeted to prevent us from receiving life-saving healthcare, and to showcase trans excellence and positivity despite everything facing us.

I encourage anyone reading this to engage with your community in whatever way you can. Run for office, have difficult conversations, write to your legislators, talk to a trans person about what it’s really like, and take back the narrative. I’d also recommend checking out 603 Equality’s social media for more information and contacting your state representatives about the bills coming up on January 3rd.


  • Alice Wade

    Alice Wade is an aerospace engineer from Dover, NH who sits on the board of 603 Equality, a statewide NH advocacy group for LGBTQ+ rights. In her free time she enjoys high-powered rocketry, building aquariums, and writing historical fiction.


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