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The Occidentalist

The Occidentalist

The Occidentalist


Should School Personnel Be Armed?

  • No (55%, 17 Votes)
  • Yes (45%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 31

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Gender-Affirming Care SHOULD Be Allowed for Minors in the State of Michigan

Graphic Credit: C. Copenhaver/staff

  The decision whether or not an individual has the opportunity to obtain gender-affirming care should not be political but rather a private conversation between the individual, their health care provider, and family if applicable (for minors). Gender-affirming care refers to any medical care that helps an individual “bring their body into more comfortable alignment with their sense of gender” (Rummler). This can include hormone/speech therapy, genital/ breast reconstruction, psychiatric services, and other types of primary care. Legislators in Michigan should not ban gender-affirming care because not only does it allow Transgender and Nonbinary individuals to feel more connected with their bodies, but it also improves their overall quality of life. A study conducted by Drs. Kym Ahrens and David Inwards-Breland at the Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic revealed that transgender youth (13-20 in age) who had access to puberty and hormone blockers had  “60% lower odds of moderate to severe depression and a 73% lower odds of self-harm or suicidal thoughts when compared to the youth who did not receive treatment” (Stringer). These puberty and hormone blockers are not permanent, but they rather pause puberty giving an individual the chance to explore the gender options that may better suit them (“Puberty blockers for transgender and gender-diverse youth”). For those under the age of medical consent, a parent/guardian/caregiver’s permission is necessary for the administration of any therapy.

  A common argument for why gender-affirming care should be banned generally concerns minors and the idea that “kids cannot comprehend the ‘long-term ramifications” of undergoing treatment” especially when our society is seemingly “pushing this on kids” (Penley). More and more youth are indeed advocating for gender-affirming care, but ultimately, the growing curiosity about gender affiliation supports individuals’ sense of identity, which can lead to a population with a higher quality of life. Gender-affirming care is not something individuals receive on a whim but rather a process that requires in-depth conversations between an individual, their healthcare provider, and if applicable, parents/ guardians/ caregivers. Research has indicated “that providing gender creative children who eventually identify as cisgender the freedom to explore their gender – even with puberty blockers – helped them feel more confident in their ultimate decisions about their gender identity”, which supports the idea that exploring one’s gender identity isn’t harmful, but rather supports an individual’s sense of self and well being (“Proposed Discussion Points to Oppose Gender-Affirming Care Criminalization Bills”). The decision whether or not someone is able to obtain the medical attention they require should not be up to the general public, but rather to the professionals, experts, and people directly involved in the decision. Gender-affirming care itself does not harm our youth, the ideas that it is inappropriate, unnecessary, shameful, or a ‘trend’ do. Our politicians should not have the power to control how individuals choose to live/ present themselves or over how parents/ guardians/ caregivers choose to parent their children. 

  Overall, gender-affirming care can improve an individual’s sense of self and decrease detrimental depression and anxiety in individuals who do not resonate with the gender their bodies were assigned at birth, all the while sending messages of inclusion, acceptance, and support. Parents/ guardians/ caregivers know what’s best for their kids, and individuals of the age or older of medical consent know what’s best for themselves as well. Whether one believes or agrees with gender-affirming care or not, we all should leave each other’s private business alone as we are often ignorant to the deeper situation at hand; politics should stay out of it. 

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