Protect trans kids


Photoshopped project by Eliana Merck

Story by Eliana Merck, Editor in Chief

In fifteen U.S. states, it has been made or considered to be made illegal to provide transgender youth with gender-affirming surgeries and other treatments, even with parental consent.

For example, The Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) act passed on March 10, 2021 prohibits physicians from providing gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth under 18. Physicians who do supply gender-affirming treatments for their underage transgender patients can be sentenced up to 10 year in prisons. Dr. Michele Hutchison, a pediatrician at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, testified that several children who had been receiving hormonal treatments attempted suicide following the passing of the SAFE act bill. 

And in Alabama, the recently introduced Senate Bill 184 and House Bill 266 also suggest that physicians who give transgender minors FDA-approved hormonal medication should be criminalized for doing so. They believe providing underage transgender patients with these medications is causing harm, even with the consent of the patient’s parent(s) or guardian(s). The bills also propose that parents are “unable to fully comprehend” their decision of allowing their child to take hormones that will delay their puberty process. 

These hormone medications have been used securely and successfully for decades, allowing transgender individuals to live in their bodies more comfortably. In Alabama specifically, one may only be prescribed hormones to delay puberty if a mental health professional has determined that it will relieve the patient of psychological suffering, and with the consent of the patient’s parent(s) or guardian(s) if they are a minor. The effects of puberty-blocking hormones are not irreversible, they simply allow transgender individuals to explore their gender prior to making any permanent changes. This helps to reduce their stress over their identity. But, according to a statistic from 2021, only around 3% of transgender individuals decide to experience regret over their decisions or detransition.

boy running through road

As of late, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has ordered state agencies to investigate the current gender-affirming care available to transgender youth. He has openly stated that, “The Office of the Attorney General has now confirmed in the enclosed opinion that a number of so-called ‘sex change’ procedures constitute child abuse under existing Texas law,” in a letter he sent to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. In addition to claiming that gender-affirming treatment is considered child abuse, Abbott also mentioned in the letter that, “Texas law imposes reporting requirements upon all licensed professionals who have direct contact with children who may be subject to such abuse, including doctors, nurses, and teachers, and provides criminal penalties for failure to report such child abuse,” levying that these licensed professionals should be criminalized for simply not reporting a transgender child who is transitioning. 

According to the William Institute, if transphobic bills or statements such as the mentioned are taken into consideration and/or put into action, tens of thousands of transgender youth risk losing their healthcare. This lack of gender-affirming healthcare in transgender youth lives may increase trans youth suicide rates. A national survey ran by the Trevor Project in 2021 states that 42% of LGBTQIA+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide, including more than half of trans or nonbinary youth. This is an extremely worrying statistic. 

Taking away the healthcare and treatments that many transgender youth need to keep living the lives they were meant to live is cruel and inhumane. Especially considering the disturbing statistics of queer youth who considered committing suicide have committed suicide, the elimination of something as simple as puberty blockers may lead to an increase  in these rates. 

These children deserve the comfort of knowing that their identity will be supported and that they can rely on healthcare to relieve themselves of the stress that comes with being born in the wrong body.