Transgender individuals are being discriminated against once again, as Missouri lawmakers hosted a public hearing April 21 where they introduced House Bill 2649. Discussion surrounded the notion that gender-affirming care should not be made available to young adults younger than 25 years old.
The aim of the new revisions to the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act, which currently only applies to people 18-years-old and under, is to restrict access to gender-affirming care for minors. This would include medical professionals prescribing hormones for transitioning transgender and nonbinary individuals, until at least their 25th birthday.
According to The Hill, a U.S. political newspaper, a psychologist, Laurie Haynes — who supports conversion therapy, — testified the reasoning behind restrictions surrounding health rights.
“Young adults under the age of 25 are unable to fully comprehend the “dramatic and drastic and irreparable” changes their bodies will undergo if they receive gender-affirming medical treatments like puberty blockers or hormone therapies,” Haynes said.
The prefrontal cortex is not fully developed until the age of 25, therefore it is argued that decision making before then is skewed, as young individuals are still developing their minds.
However, the Journal of the American Medical Association, released a recent study that found that “receiving gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers and hormones, between the ages of 13 and 20 was associated with 60 percent lower odds of moderate or severe depression and 73 percent lower odds of suicidality.”
Someone looking at gender reassignment surgery and medical treatments on young individuals from a macro view may only see that these changes are drastic and they do take a toll on ones body, looking at these changes possibly happening during puberty. However, it doesn’t matter if they are able to “fully comprehend it,” because that’s up to an individual’s personal journey with their identity, sexuality, and gender. Not only is this legislation affecting their physical bodies, but it would affect their mental health drastically.
There’s nothing plausible to judge a person’s right to gender reassignment surgery. We cannot form our own opinions of someone else’s journey, as each is unique. If someone feels they do not identify with their sex assigned at birth, and do not feel comfortable in their own skin — no matter the age— they deserve the right to change their physical body.
Individuals having gender dysphoria or struggle with body dysmorphia, that hinders them from living day to day as they would like, have a human right in what is being done to their bodies and when. The right to our own bodies is not a political agenda, propaganda, or rouse in what makes discriminatory and bigoted individuals “comfortable.”
By enacting these restrictions, legislators are forcing an individual to fit the mold of being cisgender, when they may be having an internal battle within themselves as a child. That child is developing into who they want to become. It can already be a confusing time for someone when they feel they do not identify with their birth sex. Why do legislators need to make it more difficult?