I seem to have attracted the scorn of never-allow-trans-kids-to-transition crowd again, including that obsessive sandwich board guy who has taken a keen interest in things that to my knowledge don’t impact him at all.
The conversation about medical transition of children and young adults is fascinating to me. Many of us worked hard to protect against discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression and sexual orientation. It took queer rights advocates years to get these two explicit protections locked in, and in both cases there are myriad reasons postulated why such protection should not happen.
Each time, socially-conservative arguments are at the vanguard of the push back: moral panic about our children and predators, concern trolling about too much change too fast by angry parents, and outraged neighbours with scripts from the same cookie cutter of: “I have nothing against the [insert subset of 2LGBTQIA+], but This Is Simply Going Too Far“. There’s also the well-studied “detrans regret” and finally officially-dead “mental illness” narratives.
Except that this time, the law is thankfully ALREADY in place. Protections from discrimination are ALREADY here in Canada and we’re not going to forget that.
So what this is about is the conservative views on transgender identities that the religions right and the TERF (Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist) ideologues are campaigning on so hard together to scare people into thinking that if we banned conversion therapy and if we banned hate propaganda online, so-called “Transgenderists” will “trans” their kids at school?
From my vantage point, I see a classic political campaign leveraging moral panic to cause fear and uncertainty targeting transgender persons. Moral panics are chosen as issue-based campaign strategies when there are no facts to support opposition to an idea to adult and pediatric WPATH standards of care. Yes, we do see individuals who complain that they were allowed to access medical transition when they feel that their healthcare provider should have blocked them.
The thing is, this phenomenon exists for all medical care aand the existance of dissatisfied patients is neither new or statistically valid data. The presence of an unhappy constomer does not make a model of care harmful. The business case for healtcare is far more complex than any one patient’s outcomes and requires much consideration.
And arguing against care requires data when advocating for a change in healthcare delivery – especially when we are talking about other people’s healthcare.
It’s really quite simple.
Everyone in Canada has an equal right to health care and everyone has the equal right to not be discriminated against when accessing it. Canadian health authorities offer specialized transgender healthcare which includes medical transition options for pediatric and adult patients because the evidence indicates that people benefit from the outcomes of such interventions.
Some persons regret choosing to access medical care, and this is something that may justify improving patient education about options and their outcomes.
Nevertheless, rates of regret for medical transition are reported in the literature at being well under 5%, and this is a fantastic success rate. In contrast, solid-organ recipients report a rate of regret of 5%.
If advocates are concerned that the care model for transgender persons in Canada has gaps which they would like to see filled and if concerned parents are convinced that too many youth accessing medical transition are harmed by it, the solution to the situation goes through evidence. I urge advocates pushing for any point to come to the table with data that the audience of their advocacy will respect and understand.
Trans rights advocates won access to trans-specific medical care through data and evidence supporting our advocacy and that quality standard applies equally to opponents of transgender care.
My advice to opponents of transgender care or to anyone hoping to tune the way it is delivered or the options that are provided is that they get to work funding unbiased independent research.
Here are some research questions that could be asked:
“Are youth who went through medical transition because they chose to better off than youth who wanted to but were stopped from accessing medical transition?”
“Are trans youth and adults in countries that require parental consent for medical transition of minors or young adults better off or worse off than trans youth in countries that apply the mature minor doctrine?”
“Are there options missing in state-funded transgender care today that would improve outcomes for transgender persons, and how much would they cost to implement?”
More research and more data are always better than less research and no data.
Facts are always better than deeply-held bias. Advocates concerned about persons accessing medical transition care need to provide data. It is by design that anti-trans advocates find it difficult to be taken seriously in a country where Trans people are free to live our lives and do our work without deeply-held bias getting in our way (much of the time).
Also, the province of British Columbia where I live has an excellent provincially-run Trans Care unit unsurprisingly called Trans Care BC.
They have excellent resources for transgender persons and for care providers. They do an excellent job of keeping up to date with what good care looks like.
— That is all.
I write about inclusion and political issues while working to narrow the gap between the laws we took great pains to create and their real-world implementation.