Questions of bodily autonomy

But is it health care, or is it dangerous invasive tampering?

After a midterm election and record flow of anti-transgender legislation last year, Republican state lawmakers this year are zeroing in on questions of bodily autonomy with new proposals to limit gender-affirming health care and abortion access.

Calling it “gender-affirming health care” is tendentious at best. “Attempted sex-changing surgery and hormones” would be more accurate, though of course believers in the ideology would see it as an outrage.

You can’t change sex. You can change gender only if gender is being understood as entirely external and social, which is not how most people understand it. Either way it has nothing to do with health or health care. Assisting it is not medical.

More than two dozen bills seeking to restrict transgender health care access have been introduced across 11 states — Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Virginia — for the legislative sessions beginning in early 2023.

See that’s even more misleading. It sounds as if the bills say trans people can’t have health care, which would indeed be outrageous. The bills are about restricting measures to make people trans, which is not the same as restricting health care. Measures to make people trans can be the opposite of health care.

Gender-affirming health care providers and parents of trans youths are the primary targets of these bills, many of which seek to criminalize helping a trans child obtain what doctors and psychologists widely consider “medically necessary care.”

Really? How widely? In what way medically necessary? What is the evidence that “gender-affirming health care” is medically (as opposed to socially or psychologically or emotionally) necessary care? What is the evidence that the purported medical need for such treatment is permanent? What is the evidence that no harm is done, that no one regrets such health care?

Oh, here it is.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health said last year that teens experiencing gender dysphoria can start taking hormones at age 14 and can have certain surgeries at ages 15 or 17. The group acknowledged potential risks but said it was unethical to withhold early treatments, which can improve psychological well-being and reduce suicide risk.

Ah yes WPATH, which notoriously has no vested interest at all whatsoever. Yes it’s risky but it’s unethical not to do it because maybe it will make the victims happy. Maybe. Ignore all the people already saying they wish they hadn’t done it.

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