Transgender Healthcare: The Sad Truth

This semester, I have had the privilege of taking Ethical Issues in Healthcare, or PHL 344, with Professor Kahlia Roberts here at Michigan State, and truthfully, it is a class that I will never forget. This week, we were assigned an article from USA Today titled "National firestorm on horizon as states consider criminalizing transgender treatment for youths." In this article, author Kristin Lam discusses the legislation that several states are working to pass that would criminalize the medical treatment of transgender youth. Essentially, if a doctor chooses to provide medical treatment to a transgender individual under the age of 18, they could be subject to legal proceedings, or in the most extreme circumstances, jail, as well as the possibility of losing their medical license. 

After reading this article, I was left feeling infuriated. Although this is the only article we have read on this topic throughout the course of this class, this week, I found myself more angry and hurt than ever before. The sad truth is that many Americans don’t understand the extent to which transgender medical care is at risk. Transgender people are in constant jeopardy of having their rights taken away in this country, especially their medical rights. My hope with writing this article is not to sway your opinion or aggressively urge you to believe one thing or another; rather, I urge you to educate yourself on what is going on in terms of transgender healthcare.

Much of the reason why we face such abhorrent systemic biases and injustice in this country is because so many Americans refuse to educate themselves on topics they don’t understand. I myself was naive to the circumstances surrounding transgender healthcare. However, through this class and research I have conducted on my own, I have learned that there is a serious problem in this country that is stripping transgender people of their human rights. The current presidential administration has proposed legislation that would deny transgender individuals of their medical rights and allow healthcare workers to essentially discriminate against transgender people. I urge you to look at issues like this as human issues, not political ones. 

Transgender people are people just like you or me in the sense that they are humans too. They deserve the same rights and civil liberties as anyone else. In terms of healthcare rights, transgender individuals should have the same unbiased and equitable care as anyone else. Everyone should understand that being transgender can also carry a unique set of medical needs that can be met with various resources including mental health counseling, hormone therapy, puberty blockers, gender reassignment surgery, family planning services, and more. Although not all transgender people choose to partake in all of these medical treatments, it is crucial that they feel safe enough to receive them if they choose, not to mention they should also have the right to do so. 

Again, I urge whoever is reading this to educate themselves on what is going on in this country with regard to not only the healthcare rights of transgender people but human rights as well. This should not be a political issue that divides us; rather, it is a human issue that needs to be addressed now. No one should be denied proper healthcare in this country and yet so many are, and not just transgender people. Healthcare coverage and rights are ongoing issues in this country, and it is important that we understand the severity of the situation in various groups, including the transgender community.