1. Gender-Affirming Medical Care Improves Mental Health.
Nearly two percent of American teenagers are transgender. That means that the gender they identify with is different from the one expressed by their genitalia at birth. Yet, for that small percent of teenagers, there has been a firestorm of controversy for everything from school sports to healthcare. One issue is what is known as gender-affirming care, meaning healthcare that helps a transgender person transition from the gender assigned at birth to the gender with which the person identifies. The process usually involves therapy from a mental health practitioner, hormone treatments, and surgery to change the genitalia. Some people believe that transgender is a mental health issue and not an expression of human diversity and therefore object to gender-affirming care. In some states, laws are being passed to prevent children from receiving gender-affirming care.
Yet, for transgender people, gender-affirming care can be life-saving. Going through the turbulent years of puberty, children are working out their own identities. Plus, they are dealing with raging hormones. During this time, transgender children are at a much higher risk of suicide. Why? Because they feel as if they are in the wrong body. Experts are concerned about the damage being done to children. Also that they are being used as political footballs to pass forward a far-right agenda. Yet politicians who oppose gender-affirming care say that they don’t think children should receive treatment that could change their entire life. They think these teens will later regret the choice. The question is whether healthcare providers or politicians should provide the grounds for which children receive the healthcare they need, care that can save their lives.
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