The Families Of Transgender Kansas Teens Should Make The Choices, Not The Politicians

The Families Of Transgender Kansas Teens Should Make The Choices, Not The Politicians

There have been a lot of bills introduced in the U.S. that take away the rights of transgender people. In Kansas, S.B. 233 is a very bad bill that needs to be stopped because it would make it harder for transgender teens and young adults to get health care.

A lot of studies have shown that transgender youth who get gender-affirming care have better mental health outcomes. This care could help these young people who are having suicidal ideas, depression, or problems with their gender identity. In conclusion, gender-affirming care is an important part of mental health care for transgender children.

Sadly, S.B. 233 could have even worse effects than other bills that do the same thing. It is only a small part of this bill that would try to stop healthcare workers from helping transgender kids with “social transitioning,” which includes “changing of a person’s preferred pronouns or matter of dress.” Providers who give transgender youth the best care possible would face harsh penalties under the bill, such as losing their professional licenses. This means that health care professionals, like mental health professionals, who are already hard to find in most of Kansas, could be fired for following established guidelines of care and helping their clients with even the most basic efforts to present in a way that matches their true gender identity.

As a social worker, this part of the bill worries me a lot because social change is often a very important part of transgender people’s gender-affirming health care. This bill would make it harder for mental health professionals to have even the most basic conversations with their transgender youth clients about social transition. This would make it impossible for professionals to help their clients think critically about identity and self-expression, which is an important part of mental health treatment for kids and teens.

Transgender teens and young adults who are transitioning socially tend to feel better about their mental health, especially when it comes to sadness and anxiety. It is very important that people who work in physical and mental health care can help transgender youth with social transitioning if the youth, their families, and their therapists decide that it will be good for the youth’s health and well-being.

Overall, this bill’s restrictions would make it hard for social workers and other mental health professionals to do their jobs well. Transgender kids would be the ones who would suffer the most.

You still have time to stop S.B. 233 from becoming law. I want people in Kansas to fight this bill because I’m a social worker and an expert on LGBTQ health. I urge Kansans to use all of their advocacy tools to protect transgender youth and their access to health care. I want our state to be more fair and just so that transgender youth can get the care they need to grow.

Please ask Gov. Laura Kelly to use her protective power to veto this bad bill, and tell our lawmakers that they should not support a policy that would hurt transgender children and their families needlessly. Right now is still a good time to protect transgender kids and make sure they can get the medical care they need to become happy and healthy people.

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