Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Minnetonka High School's Student News

Minnetonka Breezes

Gender Affirming Care is More Important than Ever

Art+by+Sasha+Cox
Art by Sasha Cox

Today, minority groups are accepted and celebrated more than ever. However, that hasn’t stopped the demonization of transgender individuals in the media within the last few years, nor the violent deaths of 32 transgender people in the last year alone. Transgender people — those whose gender is not consistent with their sex assigned at birth — are not given access to the medical care that they need in twenty-three states, and five have made it a crime to practice Gender Affirming Care for youth.

Robert Hoops, the advisor for Human Rights and Relations Club, explains the rise in attention on transgender individuals; “it’s a combination of many things kinda funneling together to form some angst. Whenever there’s a change in perception of the public, you know, there’s going to be [friction] in politics.”

Gender Affirming Care, or GAC, is a form of healthcare that affirms gender and includes medical procedures such as hormone replacement therapy and surgery, or mental health resources like speaking with a care specialist. The medical attention that GAC can provide is often a necessity for trans people, allowing them to live the lives that they want to lead.

There are very prominent benefits of GAC for people experiencing gender dysphoria. Healthpartners reports that transgender people are much more likely to “experience mental health conditions like anxiety and depression,” which may be linked to a lack of familial support or societal discrimination. In a study from the Office of Population Affairs in 2021, it was determined that both social and medical GAC practices lead to lower rates of mental health issues, help self esteem, and improve quality of life for youth.

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In Minnesota we have protected trans rights and become a trans refuge state in the process. Not only has the majority of the Deep South taken away trans individuals’ rights to proper medical care, they also do not have laws against discrimination in housing, jobs, or public spaces based on gender identity (Pew Research Center, 2022). In our state, according to the 2022 Minnesota Student Survey, “about 9% of Minnesota students in grades 8, 9, and 11 who reported their gender identity said that they were [a transgender or gender diverse individual].”

Whether you agree with GAC or not, know that trans people are indeed people, just like you or anyone else. Minnesota is thankfully one of the states in our country that protects GAC. The medical side, however, is not the only part of that. There is also a social part, that Care, which makes all the difference. Without support and acceptance, trans people face each day knowing that the world outside awaits them with ridicule and distrust; but with support, the world might have some hope in it. To help, educate yourself: learn more about policies taking place, know what pronouns to use for the people you know, and above all, don’t overstep.

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