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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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In-Depth Coverage: Gender-Affirming Care

How gender-affirming care is covered at a state level
Graphic Credit: C. Copenhaver/staff

  Gender affirming care is an umbrella term to describe psychological, behavioral, and medical care used to validate a person’s feelings surrounding their gender identity. It has been a recurring topic of debate in recent years, as an increasing number of minors seek out these services. The most common form of gender affirming care are puberty blockers: drugs that prevent the production of estrogen or testosterone. However, many transgender youth are undergoing more extreme forms of care, such as facial feminization surgery, masculinizing chest surgery, and gender reassignment surgery. Such services are often sought out as a result of gender dysphoria: distress caused by feeling as though one’s physical state does not accurately portray one’s gender. 

  Currently in the state of Michigan, gender affirming care is available for a spectrum of ages depending on a resident’s location and their nearest health clinic. This means that many minors are able to seek gender affirming treatment without parental consent. Additionally, Medicaid in Michigan covers hormone therapy as well as gender-confirmation surgery. 

  Supporters of gender affirming care for minors claim that it is necessary to preemptively prevent puberty, as well as actualize a person’s gender identity. Many dub Michigan as a “safe-haven” for transgender youth, and hope to keep these options available for Michigan residents as well as residents of other states who are unable to access gender affirming services due to their state’s legislation. Governor Whitmer signed legislation in March of 2023 to amend the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), which would allow minors to have increased access to gender affirming care in the state of Michigan. However, this may soon change. Two bills proposed in early May of 2023, House Bills 4539 and 4540, aim to make providing a minor with hormone blockers or gender reassignment surgery punishable by up to 4 years in prison. Opposers to gender affirming care for youth point out its potential irreversible negative repercussions, both physically and mentally. As hormone blockers are a new phenomenon, their long term side effects are yet to be confirmed. However, it is confirmed that puberty blockers have been increasingly linked to osteoporosis, infertility, early onset menopause, and long term depression. Those against gender affirming care note that the human brain is still developing until the age of 26, and making decisions that permanently affect a person’s health should wait until that person reaches 18. As of today, over a dozen states have enacted legislation preventing transgender youth from receiving gender affirming medical care. 

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About the Contributor
Cici Copenhaver
Cici Copenhaver, Photo Editor, Assistant EIC
Cici Copenhaver is a senior in her second year of newspaper at WSH. She decided to take the class because she loves to write and edit stories, and also wants to assist with the photographic portion of the newspaper and website. Cici currently holds the position of photo editor. In her free time, she loves to read, write, ski, and bike. 

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