Editorial: SB-140 Would Harm Georgia’s Transgender Children – Decaturish

By Lucas Hill, Contributor

Today, the House Public Health Committee will hear SB140, a bill banning gender-affirming healthcare for Georgians under the age of 18. SB 140 represents a dangerous encroachment by government on private family medical decisions and is unfortunately just one of about 400 anti-trans laws currently under consideration across the country. While it’s scary to be publicly vulnerable, I feel a stronger need to share my story in the hope that younger trans children in Georgia can continue to receive the medical care they need.

In sixth grade, I started questioning my gender identity. I’ve always been a “tomboy,” but when puberty hit and my body started to change, I realized it was more than that. I came out as a transgender man when I was thirteen, and switching to the correct name and pronoun made me feel better almost immediately. But it was more than that. Even though I cut my hair and wore a chest strap, the sense of disconnection from my own body was still there. Strangers on the street still thought I was a girl and the voice I used to speak and sing was not the same as the inner voice. I started talking to my therapist about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) – I never had any doubts that I wanted to take testosterone.

My parents were concerned at first; They worried, like the caring parents they are, that I would be unhappy with the changes or that I would later regret my decision. Like any parent facing an important medical decision for their child, they took the time to research medical standards of care, learn about possible side effects, talk to other parents of trans children, and meet with my therapist; but the longer they paused my transition, the worse I felt. I ended up writing them a letter explaining what HRT would do for both my self-esteem and my mental health, and it worked. My parents allowed me to start taking testosterone supplements and thankfully, little by little I became the person I had always been and was always meant to be.

There are concerns about the provision of HRT to children under the age of 18 and I understand that. Hormone therapy is a very big step and one to be aware of before taking it. I don’t regret that decision, and neither do my parents. My voice is deep, just like I like it. I lost weight faster and gained muscle mass and now I have to shave once a week. I love all these things because they make me feel like myself. The physical changes in my body brought about by HRT have boosted my confidence and thereby made me more successful in my daily life. I’m 18 now, have been taking testosterone for the past few years and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

If I hadn’t had access to HRT when I was a minor, I know I wouldn’t feel as good about myself and my body as I do now. I’m sure my confidence wouldn’t be that high and my self esteem would be drastically low. Hormone therapy is basically like a second puberty – I was lucky enough to start earlier, but if I hadn’t started hormone therapy until I was 18 I would have to go through these changes all over again. Let’s face it: nobody wants to go through puberty as a grown adult. And sometimes the compulsion to wait means that a trans person can never reconcile their body and voice with who they really are inside. Unfortunately, some trans children who do not receive gender-affirming care are prone to self-harm and suicide because their dysphoria is too great to endure.

So I’m writing this to make my voice heard because without my access to HRT when I was younger I wouldn’t be the confident, happy person I am today. Although SB-140 would not interrupt my healthcare if it goes into effect, it would harm hundreds of transgender children across Georgia who deserve the opportunity to be their true, happy selves the same way I do . A compassionate legislature would not seek to deny any human being the right to be whole, healthy, and happy. Protecting children and saving their lives means loving them unconditionally and supporting them to be their most authentic selves – and not creating barriers to the life-affirming and life-saving medical care they may need. Ultimately, every family must make their own decisions and follow their own path, and every family in Georgia must have the freedom to do so.

Lucas Hill is a regular contributor to Decaturish. The Decaturish editorial team supports Lucas and approves of this column.

If you appreciate our work, please become a paying supporter. For just $6 a month, you can help us keep you informed about your community. To become a supporter, click Here.

Want Decaturish delivered to your inbox every day? Sign up for our free newsletter with a click Here.

Decaturish is now on Mastodon. To follow us visit: https://newsie.social/@Decaturish/.

Decaturish is now in the mail. To follow us visit: https://post.news/decaturish.

Decaturish is now on Flipboard. To follow us visit: https://flipboard.com/@Decaturish