CNN Guest Blames NC Bathroom Law for Transgender Suicides, Hospitalization

On Monday, CNN New Day did its part to keep up the pressure against the North Carolina bathroom law as it offered an unchallenged forum to the mother of a transgender teen who blamed the law for the suicide of two specific transgenders, an increase in calls to suicide hotlines for transgenders, and the hospitalization of her own child due to stress caused by attention to the law.

After host Alisyn Camerota and guest Hope Tyler, a North Carolina native, recalled that Tyler's daughter had always behaved as a boy, and then, after suffering from a severe stress attack, ended up transitioning to identifying as a boy, the CNN host posed in one of her follow ups: "And so, when after Kylie became Kye, and things were going well, and he transitioned and was feeling much better, then, about three months ago, when the news of this law, HB2, started hitting the press, then what was his reaction?"

Tyler began by blaming attention to the law for her child being hospitalized:

He was so stressed out, we had to hospitalize him, and the reason, what caused the depression was he wasn't necessarily worried about himself because he's been out for a while. He started worrying about his little transgender friends that he mentors to. They weren't completely being understood because transgender boys that haven't had testosterone yet, they look like -- wait, no, they look like little girls in dresses -- but the transgender girls, they look like boys in dresses, and, you know, they get teased a lot. And the HB2 law has just put them in the spotlight. And that's unfair because there were no issues before this law came about.

She then implicated the law in an increase in suicide:

Calls in to our trans line suicide hotlines have doubled. It's absolutely frightening. We do not need any children to die. One thing that devastated me was when Lela Alcorn -- wonderful Caucasian transgender girl -- committed suicide. That's what really made me want to talk and be a voice about this. And then, after she passed away, Blake Brockington -- or Blake Brockingham, I forget his last name, excuse me for that -- he was an African-American boy who was from our Queen City here in Charlotte. He was a very strong activist for all of the trans community. He was stressed and committed suicide. So that's the point that I wanted to get across. And thank you so much for having me. I greatly appreciate it.

It was, of course, news outlets like CNN that have chosen to devote so much attention to the law, and, in doing so, have spread misinformation about the law being more restrictive than it actually is. Recent CNN reports have usually failed to inform viewers that North Carolina law allows transgenders to legally change the gender listed on their birth certificates so they can then legally use public restrooms of their preferred gender.

A bit earlier in the segment, Tyler seemed to confuse the concept of being transgender with the genetic-based biological condition of being a hermaphrodite as she tried to explain her child's condition. Tyler:

ALISYN CAMEROTA: And so, during this whole traumatic episode, you also had to start researching what transgender means, and you had to get your arms around it. So, as a mom, what did you learn?

HOPE TYLER: Thank you so much for asking me that question. One thing that people don't understand is that girls have XXY chromosomes, boys have XY chromosome -- I mean, girls have XX chromosomes, boys have XY chromosomes. The gene that determines your sex, the sex's chromosomes, is called the XRY gene. And when the little piece of that Y gene falls off, that's what causes a transgender boy. When there is no X involved in the chromosome, that's what causes a transgender girl. Another thing that people need to know is there's a whole series of XXY, YYX, these are people that have breasts with male genitalia. There's also people that have both genitalia. These children need to be recognized because this isn't new to us as parents, this is new to everybody and the world.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, May 16, New Day on CNN:

8:45 a.m. ET

ALISYN CAMEROTA: Lawmakers continue to fight over North Carolina's controversial bathroom law, but it's families of transgender teenagers that are on the front lines of this battle. Joining us now is Hope Tyler. She lives in North Carolina. She is the mother of a transgender teenager. ... Before we get to the law and the effect that it's had on your family, I just want to tell your personal story because it's really incredible to hear how you've gotten to this point.

When your child was 12 years old, your child named Kylie was 12, she became paralyzed, mysteriously paralyzed. She couldn't walk and she couldn't move. You took her to doctors who couldn't find anything physically wrong with her, but they suspected that something psychological was going on. And, through therapy and a psychological evaluation, Kylie admitted that she felt that she was trapped in the wrong body, and she identified as a boy, and she began the transition to become Kye. What was that like for you as a mom?

[HOPE TYLER]

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh! And so, during this whole traumatic episode, you also had to start researching what transgender means, and you had to get your arms around it. So, as a mom, what did you learn?

TYLER: Thank you so much for asking me that question. One thing that people don't understand is that girls have XXY chromosomes, boys have XY chromosome -- I mean, girls have XX chromosomes, boys have XY chromosomes. The gene that determines your sex, the sex's chromosomes, is called the XRY gene. And when the little piece of that Y gene falls off, that's what causes a transgender boy. When there is no X involved in the chromosome, that's what causes a transgender girl. Another thing that people need to know is there's a whole series of XXY, YYX, these are people that have breasts with male genitalia. There's also people that have both genitalia. These children need to be recognized because this isn't new to us as parents, this is new to everybody and the world.

CAMEROTA: Society, yes, as a whole, trying to understand this. And so, when after Kylie became Kye, and things were going well, and he transitioned and was feeling much better, then, about three months ago, when the news of this law, HB2, started hitting the press, then what was his reaction?

TYLER: He was so stressed out, we had to hospitalize him, and the reason, what caused the depression was he wasn't necessarily worried about himself because he's been out for a while. He started worrying about his little transgender friends that he mentors to. They weren't completely being understood because transgender boys that haven't had testosterone yet, they look like -- wait, no, they look like little girls in dresses -- but the transgender girls, they look like boys in dresses, and, you know, they get teased a lot. And the HB2 law has just put them in the spotlight. And that's unfair because there were no issues before this law came about.

And it's just a wonderful thing to be here to speak on behalf of these children. Calls in to our trans line suicide hotlines have doubled. It's absolutely frightening. We do not need any children to die. One thing that devastated me was when Lela Alcorn -- wonderful Caucasian transgender girl -- committed suicide. That's what really made me want to talk and be a voice about this. And then, after she passed away, Blake Brockington -- or Blake Brockingham, I forget his last name, excuse me for that -- he was an African-American boy who was from our Queen City here in Charlotte. He was a very strong activist for all of the trans community. He was stressed and committed suicide. So that's the point that I wanted to get across. And thank you so much for having me. I greatly appreciate it.

CAMEROTA: Well, Hope, thank you for telling your personal story about Kye. It really, really helps to hear from a mom and how you were able to understand what was going on with your child. Thanks so much. We wish you the best of luck.

NB Daily Sexuality Transgender CNN New Day Video Alisyn Camerota


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