The grandest pilgrimage I’ve made in my life was my journey to Houston, during the third week of February this year. But to my dismay, during my visit, I experienced first and secondhand bigotry and witnessed a repugnant act of aggression, Russia invading Ukraine, as if it was reality television. I claimed to be going on this trip to visit my grandparents; the truth is that I wanted to escape the mundanity of rural life in Maine in hopes of something to inspire me as well.

Demonstrators gather last June 13 in Brooklyn, N.Y., at a protest for the rights of transgender youth. In states across the country, 29 bills have been proposed to dock health care for transgender children and teenagers. Luigi Morris/

At Logan International Airport, the detector registered my groin area as a threat due to the Transportation Security Administration’s regressive policies regarding transgender bodies. I was placed in a situation where ultimately I had to comply with a padding procedure where I was outed in front of hundreds of people. The first TSA officer threw a fit due to “feeling uncomfortable,” and made quite the commotion trying to find another officer to do her job.

The same procedure was repeated on my body and I was cleared the second time. Having no choice but to comply with the TSA’s procedure, and considering that they were inappropriately groping me for no reason I see this as sexual harassment, a major infringement on my bodily autonomy, an institutionally-sanctioned attack on transgendered people.

In Texas, a highly-prized value is “personal freedom,” apparently. I believe that is a load of horse manure. Gov. Greg Abbott recently decided to make transgender youths’ as well as parents’ lives significantly harder with his heinous order forcing state agencies to investigate gender-affirming care for transgender kids.

Parents and guardians who facilitate trans health services for their children are to be investigated for child abuse. It is illegal to mandate the wearing of face masks in Texas. Wearing a piece of fabric over a face is apparently oppression; however, enforcing what people can and can’t do with their own bodies is not?

Americans are so much in each other’s throats that we feel the need to protect ourselves from our neighbors, which is the danger that will lead to the decline of our nation. Our country is so divided that a basic matter of public health and safety was turned into a political debacle. Our society is allowing elected officials in states around the nation to propose 29 Republican-backed bills to dock health care for transgender youth, with nobody batting an eye in concern.


(The legislation clearly opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.)

“Instead of going to war it would be more fun to just sit in a circle, smoking a bowl, and singing ‘Kumbaya,’ ” said my boyfriend, Kevin.

I use this quote not so much in conjunction with the invasion of Ukraine, but rather the civil dispute between two trains of thought which divide our country. Republicans and Democrats are on the side of capitalism and could care less about our well-being.

The fact that we are not working harder to advocate for a better quality of life for all is astounding to me. We are remaining complacent in a total mess that contributes to the violation of human rights including racial, gender and religious minorities.

A large portion of my generation thinks performative social media posts will remedy prejudice. What I am trying to say is we are oppressing each other in this country, and it needs to stop. If a lack of unity, tolerance and love persists in the United States then we are no longer united; therefore the basis for our country no longer exists, and the foundation of our values shatters. It won’t take a war to cause us to crumble; we already are.

The only way to change is if we reclaim our power as the majority and assert ourselves because the government is ours and it belongs to us.

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