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Arkansas's Bill Against Gender Affirming Treatments Will Only Harm the Trans Community

Armand Yazdani

Posted on April 22, 2021 00:11

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Barring access to puberty blockers and curtailing gender affirming treatments will only threaten the well-being of trans youths.


In a controversial move, Arkansas has become the first US state to ban physicians from conducting gender affirming treatments on trans minors. The bill was originally vetoed by the state’s Republic governor, Asa Hutchinson, but Arkansas’s conservative senate and house overrode the veto.

Moreover, minors will be unable to access puberty blockers and hormone therapy, which postpone the effects of puberty. By passing this bill, Arkansas isn’t only infringing on the rights of trans minors but also the trans community as a whole


This bill hinders the ability of trans people below age 18 to access surgery, puberty blockers among other options, which harms their wellbeing. According to a Swedish study, trans people generally fare significantly better after gender affirmation surgery. The study analyzed nearly 2,700 trans persons in Sweden, comparing them to a sample from the general population.

Even though trans people were six times likelier to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, those rates dropped significantly after they received gender affirmation surgeries. A smaller study of 60 trans subjects who underwent surgery suggested that it only benefitted them.

None of the 60 participants regretted their surgery, with a significant 95 percent of them approving of the reassignment. After a follow-up interview, physicians estimated that at least 86 percent of the subjects were at least in a stable state or “improved in global functioning.” 


Barring access to these surgeries and puberty blockers could cost the lives of many trans minors. If gender-affirming treatments can drastically reduce the risk of suicide ideation, barring access to these treatments will only reverse that milestone. Blocking access to hormone therapy and puberty blockers will only exacerbate the high suicide attempt rates from which trans youth suffer.

About 41% of 6,000 transgender participants from a National Transgender Discrimination survey reported attempting suicide. Given that this statistic presumably included trans people who underwent gender-affirming treatment, suicide attempts in Arkansas could be much higher if trans minors are unable to access these treatments. 


Arkansas’s decision to ban gender-affirming healthcare will increase the anxiety of trans youths and the trans community in general at best. At worst, it could lead to increased depression and higher suicide attempts amongst that community. For many trans people, these surgeries and affirming treatments aren’t a choice but a necessity. 

Armand Yazdani

Posted on April 22, 2021 00:11

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Source: ABC News

Arkansas law bans gender confirming treatments for transgender minors.

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