“Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization.” All of us have a whiteboard in our minds, it is filled with memories, experiences, and preconceived perceptions; the whiteboard is the summation of our life.
I am inviting you to erase any prejudgments of gender, transgender, and any other sexual preferences that are written on your board. Once the whiteboard is cleared, the mind can seek truth and make conclusions accordingly.
The Buddha has a wonderful quote about truth, “Three things cannot be long hidden; the sun, the moon and the truth.” As with any controversial issue, there are advocates at both ends of the spectrum. I maintain that the truth lies somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. Let us look at transgender healthcare through the lens of truth and honesty.
A transgender denotes a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex. Transgender is also an umbrella term for other gender identities such as non-binary, cross dressers, and others, This is the reason the acronym LGBT+ has the plus sign. Healthcare to transgender people is providing hormone therapy to help the body align with one’s gender identity.
Protect Trans Health
It is not the process that has been questioned, it is the age of the patient that this process has been discussed and debated. When a child is born, physically the child is a boy or girl, that is a fact that no one can dispute. The baby has no idea what sex he or she is until the parents tell them. What can be explored is the child’s inner self.
If the child is born a girl and at the gender reveal party every color of balloons and streamers are presented as pink, can one be sure that the baby’s identity is in fact a girl. Let us fast forward a couple of years. Now the little girl prefers playing with ‘boy stuff,’ trucks, tanks, and such. Keep in mind, both ‘girl stuff’ and ‘boy stuff’ are available, yet the little girl likes playing with the latter. Is the little girl wanting to be male?
All children have a natural curiosity about the opposite sex, they may play with the other’s toys, try the other’s clothes and at times seem somewhat confused. It is natural for a child to play being someone else, in this example, the opposite sex. A general rule that might apply in determining whether a child is transgender is this; if the child is “consistent, insistent, and persistent” about his or her sexual identity which is the assigned sex at birth, there is a good chance that the child is transgender. Gender dysphoria, also known as gender identity disorder is a key that someone feels uncomfortable with their assigned sex.
If a determination is made that the child is transgender, there are medical doctors that can assist in the wishes of the patient. Once a transgender youth reaches puberty, a doctor may prescribe them with reversible puberty blockers to safely delay the effects of puberty. Transgender medicine has been on an upswing for several years.
There have been more doctors offering children, who identify as the opposite sex, procedures such as puberty blockers and hormones to assist their transition. There have been legal challenges in several states debating this process. Several states have introduced legislation that limit or even ban medical care for transgender young people.
If these bills pass, access to critical care for young people would seriously be at risk. Transgender children seem to be in the headlines of late, even their participation in sports. Trying to change the child’s gender identity by rejection, punishment or ‘conversion therapies’ which in some cases are faith based, may prove dangerous for the child. There are ‘well meaning’ adults, parents included, that can do more harm than good by forcing change.
Depression, anxiety, drug use and possible suicide could result from coercing the child to be someone that is not natural for the child. The word compassion comes to mind, walking in someone else’s shoes will provide a new perspective, even if that someone is a child; especially if that someone is a child.
Puberty blockers are not experimental treatments, they are FDA approved medications that have been used to treat puberty in non-transgender children for several decades. These procedures are performed provided that all federal, state, and local laws are adhered to. An endocrinologist is a doctor whose specialty is the treatment of conditions that affect the hormone system.
The physician must see the patient as a person that is seeking to align the physical with the psychological. This alignment is also referred to as gender-affirming, which simply means seeking only those interventions the patient desires to affirm their own gender identity. Gender affirming care is healthcare that allows a person to live true to their gender, in other words, living honestly.
Every person undergoing treatment has challenges, especially the young. Risk of suicide because of bullying, rejection and other forms of discrimination come to mind. Transgender people have many times been victims of scorn, ridicule, or worse. A caring physician, family support, and positive peer reinforcement will assure a welcomed result.
The truth will always come out of hiding. Transgender people have been in the shadows too long and their medical treatments have been ignored as well. They have been seeking acceptance and medical help for their journey to seek a true and fulfilling life.
Mahatma Gandhi continues ‘…outward peace is useless without inner peace.’ The subject of transgender people and their medical care has finally been placed on the table of illumination for discussion. Culture wars are ongoing, the debates will remain, people at each end of the spectrum will have their opinions which no one can change.
The truth is that transgender people have every right to sit at the table along with everyone else.