Why restricting hormone replacement therapy access for trans youth is a death sentence.
In my AP Literature and Composition class we were given an assignment to write a poem about ourselves. Some kids wrote about their passions, while others wrote about their family. I, on the other hand, wrote about my transition.
My transition started almost four years ago in February, but the signs were always there. There were simple indications throughout my childhood, pointing to who I was supposed to be, such as the time I was a little too excited to play a rooster in a school play. After my long and steady transition, I’ll be making a revolutionary turn in less than three months.
For the past few months, my family and I have been consulting with doctors and gender therapists to finally get my transition on the road, with hormone replacement therapy. Hormone Replacement therapy being the replacement of hormones, either testosterone and estrogen, in the body through shots, gels, and pills. After four years of a transition, I am finally able to medically change my body into the one I desired.
Thankfully, the laws of Nebraska allow me to transition before the age of 18, but this is not the case for other states.
In April of 2021, Arkansas became the first U.S. state to ban hormone replacement therapy for transgender youth.
This law threatens to rid a medical provider of their medical license if they provide a transgender minor any sort of hormones. This includes puberty blockers, hormone replacement, and gender-affirming surgeries.
Although Arkansas is currently the only state to have had this law pass, as of April 16th, more states, such as Kansas, Montana, and Texas are considering similar legislation.
This ban is extremely harmful for teens in the midst of their transitions. In fact, medically transitioning is what is keeping certain transgender youth alive.
In a survey run by the Human Rights Campaign in 2018, over 50% of transgender males and 29.9% of transgender women surveyed had admitted to attempting suicide at some point during their lives.
A transition goal as life changing as hormone replacement therapy gives these youths a reason to continue on, giving them a reason to continue on against the social backlash they receive and not let their own gender dysphoria get the best of them.
With being unable to obtain things such as puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy can and will be the breaking point for transgender youth.
Speaking from experience, if I was told that after transitioning for over four years that I was unable to medically transition due to the fact that I am not yet 18, my heart would be absolutely broken. It could have possibly been my breaking point.
This breaking point leads to a devastating statistic, being well known fact that suicide rates are high in the transgender community.
A lot of these suicidal tendencies stem from unsupportive families, bullying and harassment, along with feeling generally unsafe. For some youth, feeling unsafe can distractly change their hormonal therapy.
Hormonal therapy changes one’s body shape, voice, facial hair growth, and so much more. This allows them to conform to society’s expectation of their gender, making them feel safe in everyday life.
Without access to this medical transition, trans youth are at higher rates of danger. The more unsafe one feels simply for expressing themselves, the more suicidal one may feel. This gives them an unwanted death sentence due to their own anxiety and fear of being hurt for transitioning.
For those transitioning at a young age, this law is dangerous. I have been transitioning since I was 13. A sudden change in state legislature that would prevent me from medically transitioning in December of this year may simply be the death of me.