Research shows that trans and non-binary teens benefit from gender affirming care

CP Hoffman, a senior policy attorney at the National Center for Transgender Equality, tells SELF that policies that deny trans people gender-affirming care are especially dangerous for teens already going through the tumult of puberty. “When you think about the general trauma of being a teenager, there’s so much body horror that comes with it,” they say. “You see how your body develops, [thinking], Okay, this is great. OK, this is weird.” For trans teens, being denied gender-affirming care really reinforces that feeling. “There is something that could help you, [but] you’re told by those in power, “Oh, you’re mentally disturbed for wanting this,” Hoffman explains.

It’s worth noting, they add, that hormone therapies are nothing new and are sometimes recommended for cisgender children. For example, hormonal interventions may be indicated if a cisgender child enters puberty too early. “[Hormonal therapies have] has been used for cisgender children for decades. Now that it is announced that trans children are also doing this, there is a moral panic, “says Hoffman. If lawmakers were really concerned about children’s health — and not just trying to fuel prejudice and suppress transgender youth — they’d probably try to ban hormonal therapies for children. everybody, what they are not. For example, a bill introduced by Tennessee lawmakers in November proposes a ban on hormonal therapies (and other forms of gender-affirming care) when given to transgender youth. to value their gender, especially as they go through puberty” – but makes exceptions for the treatments they seek to prohibit in other circumstances (such as for the treatment of a “congenital defect, disease or physical injury”). also reiterates lies often used by GOP legislators, stating that gender affirmative care is “harmful,” even though, as Hoffman points out, “every major medical association in the United States that has looked at the issue considers gender affirmative care to be appropriate care endorsed for adults and minors.”

While anti-trans legislation boomed last year, the mainstream media has focused less on the issue of safe medical care deprived of thousands and more on a flawed moral argument. The New York Times, for example, recently published an article entitled “When Students Change Gender Identity, and Parents Don’t Know,” which raised the question of whether parents should know if their child has gone through a social transition, but barely touched on the possibility that the safety of some children could be put at risk if their relatives or other people in their community knew they had done so. The Atlantic Ocean also recently published an article titled “Take Detransitioners Seriously,” which, as writer Evan Urquhart points out, centers on the story of a former Navy Seal associated with the Christian nationalist movement who has expressed anti-transsentment.

What fear-mongering legislators who legislate outlawing gender-affirming care fail to recognize is that banning this medical care will be dangerous. “Gender affirming care essentially means providing an environment that validates and affirms, which every person deserves,” says Dr. Matouk. “[It] is a necessary protective factor against the higher rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation and self-harm [trans and gender nonbinary] people experience, compared to cisgender colleagues.

The obsessive anti-trans coverage is doing more than just harming teens’ mental health, says Dr. Matouk: The rhetoric being spread by opponents of gender-affirming care — including lawmakers and those who support their agenda — will have a ripple effect, especially if there are prohibited. “Denying or even criminalizing gender-affirming care has a significant negative effect,” she says. “Not only does limiting care directly threaten mental and physical health [trans and nonbinary] people, it also exacerbates prejudice, discrimination and violence against the community.”

In the hate-filled political and cultural climate we currently live in, research is the new NEJM study adds solid science to the conversation, says Dr. Matouk: “It helps challenge laws that challenge and deny basic human rights with scientific evidence and informed practice.”

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Research shows that trans and non-binary teens benefit from gender affirming care

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