Opinion | Protect transgender kids from Iowa politicians

A ban on gender affirming care could put the lives of thousands of Iowans at risk.


Grace Smith

Seventh-grader Ace Drumbarger speaks during a transgender rights protest at the Pentacrest on Friday, March 11, 2022. Drumbarger spoke about their experiences being transgender and wanting to compete in sports. “Being transgender has nothing to do with capability of athletes.”

Shahab Khan, Opinions Columnist

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.

The state and country need gender-affirming care.

Iowa Republicans have made it their mission to use the powers of government to marginalize transgender youth. Iowa could potentially be the next Republican state after several southern states and Utah to ban gender-affirming medical care after Speaker of the House Pat Grassley suggested the state house will make this law.

Unfortunately, it will cost thousands of transgender kids and young adults their lives as well.

There are two thinly veiled arguments Republicans use to hide their bigotry against transgender children and adults.

The first is that parents have the right to know every single detail about their child’s life, and the second is that medical professionals are willfully administering gender-affirming care on children without concern for the child’s future well-being.

Argument one appeals to many readers because it is derived from the principle that parents have a moral obligation to raise their child into becoming a respectful and functioning member of society.

However, there is a difference between saying parents have a moral obligation in raising a child and saying that parents should be the only people in charge of raising a child as Republicans claim.

Parents do not have the necessary skills to teach a child everything they need to know or how to deal with certain situations their child could be involved in.

When a child comes out as transgender to their parents, it is dangerous for parents to take the lead in caring for the child medically. Rather, responsible parents would take the child to psychiatrists trained in helping patients with gender dysphoria.

The second argument is based on the idea that doctors are letting young children take gender transition medications without any proper diagnosis. From here, they argue that this could lead to potential distress for the patient in the future.

Here, conservatives are ignoring two things. First, the clinics in Iowa that facilitate gender transition require patients to go through rigorous psychiatric evaluation before they can be prescribed any medical regimen. Second, 99 percent of all transgender patients that underwent gender-affirming medical procedures did not regret getting the procedure.

Medical professionals ensure patients with gender dysphoria are getting the correct treatment they need. In turn, almost all transgender individuals are content with the fact they transitioned.

Meanwhile, if a parent were to take direct responsibility of treating their child’s gender dysphoria rather than a medical profession, it is very likely that child would become distressed and have a propensity to commit suicide as they are not getting the care they need.

Fifty-six percent of transgender youths have admitted to attempting suicide according to a study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence. The study also illuminated that this was because transgender youths faced hostile reactions from their family, and they felt they did not have the proper support system in their lives.

Simply put, banning gender-affirming support systems in schools and gender-affirming surgery will lead to a world where the lives of transgender kids are at risk. For these reasons, it is important to show solidarity with transgender people and vote transphobic politicians out of office.