Transgender Care is Needed

Apartheid in South Africa was racial segregation and politically driven, with consequences for anyone who opposed segregation. Apartheid existed in the U.S. as well, but we avoided using this term. 

We do not learn from our past mistakes. We continue to placate political agendas to spare our institutions.

Robert Otto Valdez, Ph.D., M.H.S.A., at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, reported that we have “troubling trends” in healthcare quality and delivery. The report addresses intersections and social determinants that affect healthcare.

H.R.C., in October of 2022, in a press release, addressed the consequences of denying youth transition-related care. In youths aged 13 to 20 years enrolled in gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers and gender-affirming hormones, suicidality rates dropped over a 12-month follow-up by 73%.

We enhanced the mental health of kids and adults everywhere until Governor DeSantis’s latest Parental Rights in Education bill otherwise known as the anti-gay bill. Institutions, schools, and medical and mental health care face the consequences if they do not comply. The bill is anti-gay, shamefully dismissing the value of all the hard work of activists, healthcare and mental health providers, and organizations serving children and young adults.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

Many of us are deeply concerned with the changes imposed on Floridians. Others seem to have ignored the experts. Experts are usually the people who live as the person who is the least understood by mainstream communities. While DeSantis’s latest ruling is not necessarily racially driven, it segregates LGBTQIA2S people. His agenda will continue infiltrating every grant and state-funded educational program, including universities. When institutions and programs comply, the erasure of this population will take effect, and we will shut down narratives and history.

We already have whitewashing eliminating parts of truth in history in predominantly most schools. However, even in some tourist sectors, the names of slave markets have changed to avoid having conversations that these markets once housed and sold enslaved people. During the AIDS crisis, we refused to acknowledge people in grief, instead reinforcing stigma. Partners, families, friends, and communities grieved in silence as the world looked on in judgment criticizing and blaming gay men for the crises neglecting to recognize that AIDS did not discriminate, and children, Ryan White, for one, and his family endured hateful speech. Ryan White contracted AIDS because of a blood transfusion, and many others lived in isolation and silence. 

We have separation within Florida, driven by misinformation and misguided intentions to scare parents, teachers, mental health, and medical providers into complying with threats to criminalize anyone opposed. The anti-gay bill is damaging to children, and their families may be trans or sexual minorities will be unable to talk openly and honestly. How does a six-year-old share a story about his two dads?

Once again, Florida is at the helm of fueling biases within groups opposed to transgender care. The rhetoric that hormone blockers are irreversible is to intentionally misstate, misinform, and instill public fear. Parents whose transgender children are now adults are some of these experts who dispel the incited lies. However, despite over 7,000 people from all across the U.S. joining forces with HRC in condemning the attacks on transgender and non-binary youth and President Biden promising to have their backs cascading effect is in full force. Attempts to shut down conversations are another example of erasure. 

World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) and the United States Professional Association for Transgender Health (USPATH), in November of 2022, made a public statement opposing the Florida Draft Rule Banning Gender Affirming Care for Adolescents. 

Just as in South Africa during Apartheid, political agendas dismissed the consequences to POC. The radical curtailing of access to mental health and medical care and its toll on the Black community led to an economic crisis. It increased suicidal behavior in Black South Africans. Another example of political agendas harming people is in Kabul, Afghanistan; since the Taliban have taken control, measures to erase women and girls have been a long-standing practice.

What will the consequences be to the trans population of adolescents? We already have the data. We know there will be an increase in suicidal ideation and deaths by suicide. We know that individuals will suffer health and socioeconomic disparities. What about lower grades and the Parental Rights in Education bill? Is this really about parental rights or enforcing existing bias against sexual minorities and gender non-conforming and transgender youth and families? Will we see an increase in deaths by suicide, a rise in mental health illnesses, medical crises, family violence, and homelessness? Who will we hold accountable?

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