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Gender Affirming Care And Why it Matters

Let’s Talk about Gender Affirming Care. Gender affirming care is a term used to provide medical treatment to people based on how they identify. Youths who do not identify with their sex at birth (SAB) and may identify as transgender/nonbinary (TGNB) often experience higher rates of mental health challenges, anxiety and depression (Becerra-Culqui 2018).

Medical affirming care can include hormone therapy or other treatments that postpone physical changes to help affirm one’s gender identity.Gender affirming hormone therapy or puberty suppression can improve the mental health of TGNB youth (de Vries et. al) and a study in 2015 (Costa et. al) showed that pubertal suppression showed significant improvement of overall psychological function after only six months of care. Allen et. al in 2019 showed that with trangender youth, 1 year of treatment the average suicidality was ¼ of what it was before treatment. 

However, many states, and most recently Montana are trying to pass bills that prevent doctors and nurse practitioners from providing gender affirming care. That means they can’t prescribe hormones or puberty suppression drugs, even though empirical evidence has shown that are known to be safe and have significant mental health benefits for transgender youths. 

This is an issue every healthcare worker needs to be aware of

What can you do? 

  • Keep an eye out on these Bills
  • Write to government officials about the importance of Gender Affirming Care 
  • Actively fight against anti-trans legislation (https://www.aclu.org/legislation-affecting-lgbt-rights-across-country)
  • Educate yourself and others on these issues (Book List Below)
  • Donate to organizations listed in this post

Books to learn about the Transgender experience and Transrights:

“Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman” by Leslie Feinberg

“Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution” by Susan Stryker

“Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity” by C. Riley Snorton

“Real Queer America: LGBT Stories from Red States” by Samantha Allen

“A Queer and Pleasant Danger: A Memoir” by Kate Bornstein

“Stone Butch Blues” by Leslie Feinberg

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