Medicine is catered to everyone: regardless of one’s age, sex, creed, or race? Why the Anti-Trans Healthcare Bill in Arkansas, then? To give a brief overview: the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act protects adolescents under the age of 18 to undergo transgender surgical and medical treatments (Sandler, 2021), which many advocate might be detrimental to the mental health of transgender teenagers.
So what problems could arise from this new law?
A problem that might arise is the “unscientific misinformation that implies ‘transgender youth are ‘confused’ or invalid’” (Popat, 2021). This would generate more pressure in society for transgender adolescents.
Why does this matter?
As the young mind is still developing until the age of 25, this law allows ‘legal adults’ to make their own decisions. Just like smoking and drinking have a certain legal age, now seeking transgender services will have that restriction. From a medical perspective, this seems logical, as even those undergoing any cosmetic surgeries require psychological and psychiatric optimization. On the other hand, we are placing more pressure on these transgender individuals who are already suffering from the pressure of adolescence. A new generation of doctors have to learn how to be sensitive to the needs of their patients but will now have to be more vigilant and supportive of their transgender patients.
While the former argument is valid, gender dysphoria in adolescence has significant consequences. In order to prevent psychiatric sequelae, increasing satisfaction is a must, as a study mentions that “satisfaction with (more or less sex-specific) body characteristics increases especially after gender-affirming surgeries in adolescent/young adult populations” (Becker et al, 2018). Therefore, allowing the youth to undergo surgical and medical treatments may be advantageous, making this new law more of a nuisance for the community than a benefit.
How would you feel if you have a loved one, who is transgender, and was dealing with their own personal issues and now has to deal with more societal issues? Although in the South Asian community, lesbian and gay marriages have finally been accepted, for many years, the third gender: ‘heerja’ has been widely accepted, as well.
So, why frown upon transgender individuals? Again, why the Anti-Trans Healthcare Bill in Arkansas? Give these individuals freedom and let them discover themselves.
Priyanka grew up in New Jersey. She has a strong interest in exercise science, nutrition, public health, healthcare, and medicine, as she is a physician. She also has an interest in skincare, fashion, dance, and many other aspects of lifestyle, and she loves to spread this knowledge through social media.