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Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Gender-affirming healthcare is a fundamental right

A transgender flag with a gender symbol in the middle.

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

Access to gender-affirming healthcare is a highly debated subject. Should young people be able to make such decisions about their bodies? 

The answer is yes. 

People often undermine how stressful it is to experience gender dysphoria. In some cases, the condition causes suicidal thoughts and other related urges. Just like any condition, treatment is necessary to prevent harm to the afflicted person.

Contrary to popular belief, gender-affirming healthcare is not harmful. 

It’s quite the opposite. 

Studies show that individuals experiencing gender dysphoria who undergo gender-affirming therapies and procedures reduce the risk of suicide and negative self-image significantly.

In other words, there are numerous benefits of accessible gender-affirming healthcare, including affordable hormone replacement therapy and surgeries. Condemning these forms of care is detrimental to the wellbeing of transgender youth and adults. 

As Texas legislators continue to draft anti-trans bills, self-harm and suicide rates among transgender youth have risen dangerously. These bills threaten the health care and safety of transgender individuals of all ages, though young transgender people are particularly vulnerable.

Understanding that gender-affirming healthcare is not just cosmetic is essential. These treatments help significantly improve the mental and physical health of transgender individuals. Denying access to such care is an abomination to human rights and has severe consequences, such as depression and suicidal tendencies.

Additionally, it is imperative to note that young people can decide about their bodies. The idea that they are too young or immature to be able to self-identify is ridiculous and dismissive of the hardships they experience. Ensuring the accessibility of gender-affirming healthcare guarantees young transgender people can live healthy, happy lives.

Access to healthcare is a fundamental right and denying HRT and gender affirmation surgeries is a significant violation of those rights. Denying healthcare based on gender identity is outright discriminatory. 

Adolescent transgender people deserve the same access to healthcare as everyone else without negative stereotypes and discrimination.

As discourse regarding gender-affirming healthcare continues, it is crucial to recognize that real people are suffering behind the curtains. Transgender individuals do not decide to transition without serious consideration and they do not take it lightly. 

 For many transgender folks, it is a matter of life and death.

Research reveals increasing rates of suicide and self-harm among young transgender individuals, and accessing gender-affirming healthcare services can help reduce these risks exponentially. When transgender people, particularly young people, have access to the care they need, they have the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives.

Supporting transgender youth during transition is vital, including advocating for accessible gender-affirming healthcare. This means combating harmful legislation and ensuring all health insurance covers the costs of these services.

We must also address misinformation regarding gender-affirming care. Many wrongly assume these services are harmful when they are not. They are crucial to supporting the mental and physical health of transgender people. 

Accessible gender-affirming healthcare is essential for the wellness of transgender youth. We must advocate for accessible healthcare and combat restrictive legislation.

We must address these negative stereotypes and misconceptions regarding gender-affirming services and support trans folks in their journeys to being their true selves. 

Grayson Alexander Darwin is a Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies freshman who can be reached at [email protected]

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