Gender-affirming care focuses on an individual’s physical, mental and social health needs. This care is absolutely lifesaving for transgender, gender diverse, and nonbinary people.
In order to fully understand what gender-affirming care is, we must first understand what it means to have a “gender identity crisis.” Gender crises happen when someone’s internal sense of gender is different from their sex or when they do not fit into the traditional expectations of gender identity or expression.
Historically, transgender, gender diverse and non-binary individuals typically experienced considerable health disparities due to discrimination and systemic biases, as well as less access to healthcare. But recently there has been a real push for gender-affirming healthcare, and in fact, research has strongly suggested that inhibiting individuals from receiving this form of healthcare can have immense negative health outcomes.
Benefits of Gender-Affirming Care
The following are just a few of the ways gender-affirming care can benefit transgender, gender diverse and non-binary individuals:
Improved Body Image and Self-Esteem
Gender-affirming care includes hormone therapy and surgery. These medical treatments help an individual’s physical attributes align more with their self-identified gender. This results in more self-esteem and a healthier body image.
Improved Mental Health
Gender-affirming care has the power to significantly improve a person’s mental health. This, in turn, results in a lower suicide rate, lower rates of depression and anxiety, as well as lower incidents of self-harm.
These benefits are now being reported in large-scale studies, such as the one in 2021 that illustrated a significant link between access to hormone therapy and lower rates of depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts among transgender youth un the US.
Improved access to gender-affirming care has a strong ripple effect throughout the trans community. When one individual has a positive experience with a particular treatment or provider, more individuals in the community are apt to seek the same care and receive the same benefits.
Gender-affirming care also means getting help from an ally in the mental health community. If you would like to seek treatment options, please get in touch with me.