Anti-trans laws make trans youth feel unsafe
Health care is prohibited and criminalized for trans youth, both inside and outside of schools. Under Arkansas HB1570, healthcare professionals are prohibited from providing or even referring trans youth to medically necessary healthcare; public funds cannot be allocated to gender-sensitive health care for trans people under the age of 18; private insurers can refuse to cover gender-affirming care for people of any age; and doctors who provide medically necessary care for trans youth would risk losing their licenses and facing prosecution by individuals and the state. According to a recent report by Mother Jones, at least 18 other states have considered similar bills this year. These bills do not coincide with the values ââof most Americans or medical professionals: Recent polls have found that the majority of voters, even registered Republicans, believe trans people should be able to live openly and have access. to health care. The vast majority of medical experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Medicine, also support access to gender-sensitive health care for children.
Access to puberty blockers and other gender-affirming medical care is often crucial for the well-being of trans youth. A recent study from the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which followed trans youth from early adolescence through adulthood, found that trans youth who received puberty blockers, surgeries, and Gender affirmation and counseling had excellent psychosocial results and had no reported negative medical consequences. Another study of more than 20,000 transgender adults found that those who received puberty-blocking treatment in adolescence were less likely to consider suicide than those who did not have access to the drug. Despite the proven benefits of gender-affirming health care, transgender youth have long faced discrimination in medical settings. A 2020 report from the National LGBTQ Task Force found that nearly one in five transgender and non-binary youth said they were denied care because of their gender, and that 28% of those surveyed had experienced a form of harassment in a medical environment.
To fight against this discrimination, Luca Borah, a transgender student living in Michigan, decided to go to medical school. âI was drawn to medicine to help other queer and trans people feel a sense of belonging in our bodies, in our communities and in our health care,â said Borah, a freshman at the University of Michigan School of Medicine. Teen vogue. âAs a trans patient, medical student, and future doctor, it is horrible to witness the criminalization of sex affirming medical care. We know this care is safe, medically necessary and life-saving. Looking back, it’s hard to imagine how different my childhood would have been if I had had the words to describe my transness and access to puberty blockers. It brings me a deep sense of sorrow for the children who have already done the hard and tender work of understanding their identity, and who have courageously opened up to their families and doctors, to be attacked by their elected representatives and cut off from their lives. all health care. “
Alexis, an eighth grader from Massachusetts who asked to use a pseudonym, was put in this exact position. Although Alexis said his original condition had not prevented him from making a medical transition or undergoing hormone treatment, he is concerned about his lack of access to an alternative type of health care. âI had a hard time concentrating on my school,â Alexis said Teen vogue. âAs more and more of these bills are passed, I can only imagine that it will continue to affect my mental health, and therefore education, as they once did. In the past week, I have cried twice about this with my parents, who are very supportive of me, but I’m not sure if they fully understand the impact of these attacks on the mental health of trans children.