As a doctor, I have seen many face their most vulnerable moments. But a visit with a patient sticks in your soul and never leaves.
I will never forget one of my most heartbreaking visits when a transgender patient looked at me with pleading eyes and asked, “Am I safe here?”
My patient was referring to Idaho, not my clinic.
And I couldn’t ethically say yes to them.
This year, Congress elevated Idaho to the top of the states blaming voters for anti-transgender laws. Bill.
Social media comments are vaguely disguised as a desire to “protect children” and keep them inaccessible to care, from people who blatantly ignore the stories of transgender youth and their parents and religious leaders. There is also a deep-seated hatred of transgender people. , and employers who have testified to their humanity time and time again say this care saved their lives.
I need my fellow Idahoans to truly understand what it means to deprive some individuals of healthcare. It’s necessary healthcare for those who already have to face discrimination, social stigma, scarce resources, and, too often, outright hatred to access it. , from both inside and outside the healthcare system.
And now, lawmakers in Idaho have decided that we physicians should not provide medically safe care for reasons that are not based on medical evidence or mainstream best practice.
As physicians, we pledge to put our patients’ health first. We are trained to be competent healthcare providers. We’ve spent countless late nights studying medicine over the years, training ourselves to make subtle diagnoses based on peer-reviewed research on modern medicine and our understanding of how the human body works. We practice discussing intimate and personalized healthcare plans with each patient and never simply handing over medications or treatments without knowing it is the best course of action for them. We believe in parental rights and work with parents and families to create a unique plan for each patient. Idaho legislators know no better than the overwhelming majority of doctors and patients about what each transgender person’s medical needs are.
American Medical Associationtogether 30 other authoritative medical groups like American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychiatric Association,Furthermore world health organization Are standing Firmly support gender-affirming health care for young peopleRepresenting more than 300 state and professional medical societies, these national and international organizations have made it clear time and time again that trans youth must have access to gender-affirming health care. I was. result.
The Idaho Legislature has already enacted some egregious and drastic bans on medical practices in response to protests from the medical community. increase. the current, 98% Primary Care Physician Shortage in IdahoCriminalizing the doctors who provide the health care we have sworn to provide drives them out and limits access to rural primary and specialty care. If House Bill 71 passes, the desperate situation for both understaffed clinics and hospitals will become even more dire. It has done incredible harm to the transgender community, It affects everyone who receives health care in our state, transgender or not.
While being transgender is a normal part of the human experience, gender-diverse youth routinely face stigma and prejudice, with higher rates of depression and suicidal ideation and suicide compared to cisgender youth. Attempts are at a much higher risk. What helps is access to a range of gender-affirmation care. A 2022 study published in the Journal of American Medical Institute found that transgender youth who received gender-affirming care and support were 60% less likely to suffer from depression and 73% less likely to have suicidal thoughts. was shown. This is lifesaving medicine.
Legislators must stick to the facts and listen to parents, patients and doctors. The infant has not undergone surgery to remove any part of the body. Ethically treat minors suffering from gender dysphoria with the consent of their parents. We work with patients and their legal guardians to help them make the best medical decisions for their minds and bodies through a long and well-scrutinized process involving our medical and psychological teams. and supporting their families.
Inform transgender patients that if HB 71 is enacted, it is not known if it will be safe in Idaho. I will tell my family that they need to travel for the care they need and deserve. In that state, we tell transgender patients, “Yes, you are safe. We will give you the care you need.”
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