Gender-affirming care refers to any type of medical or healthcare treatment that supports a nonbinary or transgender individual throughout their transition. It helps to affirm diversity in individual identities and has been shown to substantially boost the mental wellness of gender-diverse people—especially youths and teens.
Gender-affirming care is important across every area of the healthcare industry. However, it’s essential when it comes to mental health care and things like therapy or counseling.
It might be a new term for some. However, if you’re someone going through a gender transition or you’re a gender-diverse person who has struggled to find inclusive care, it’s important to know why this type of care is important, and how it can shape the future.
Building Identity Confidence
One of the biggest reasons gender-affirming care is so crucial is that some people might struggle with certain aspects of their transition. You might not know if you want to go through with gender reassignment surgery. Or maybe you’re not sure how to deal with your transition on a social level.
A gender-affirming therapist can help you work through those issues so you feel more confident throughout your transition.
However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to why this type of care is important. The other factors carry a lot of weight and can make a huge difference in the lives of people transitioning.
Gender-Affirming Care Can Reduce Mental Health Disorders
Youths and teens going through gender identity changes often feel like they have nowhere to turn. Some aren’t accepted at home or among friends, and if they don’t feel like they can reach out for mental health, they’re more likely to experience anxiety or stress. They might even become confused about their identity and seek help or information from unreliable sources.
Gender-affirming care that’s open to everyone can help teens and adults alike feel like they have a place to turn. As a result, they’re less likely to feel overcome by stress, anxiety, or depression.
This kind of care can’t completely eliminate the stress that often coincides with transitioning. It can, however, provide a safe space for people to be open and honest about who they are and what they’re experiencing.
It Gives People a Place to Go
Unfortunately, there are legislatures in place in many states throughout the country that are fighting back against gender-affirming care. It might be hard to believe in 2022, but some people aren’t able to receive access to the healthcare they need and deserve based on their gender identity.
This has forced some individuals and families alike to have to leave their own states to find proper medical and mental health care.
Individual practices might not be able to change state legislature. However, the more people who demand gender-affirming care (including those in the mental health industry), the harder it will be for government agencies to “ban” it.
It Saves Lives
The states that have laws against gender-affirming care are often places where the LGBTQ+ community or nonbinary individuals have to face additional challenges.
That includes everything from prejudice and discrimination to violence and daily stigmas. It’s in these locations that mental health services are especially needed for those individuals.
When there are no options available for transgender or nonbinary individuals, self-harm and suicide rates increase. Gender-affirming care needs to be available to all people. Its availability not only helps with mental health conditions like anxiety or depression. It also provides immediate aid to those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.
If you or someone you care about is transitioning or having a hard time finding gender-diverse care, don’t hesitate to contact me for more information or to set up an appointment. You deserve the same quality care as everyone else.
About the Author
Roma Williams is a Houston-based licensed marriage and family therapist, who is also licensed in the states of Georgia, Florida, and California. Her specialties and clinical interests are systems and relationships. Roma enjoys working with couples, including LGBTQ+ and those who live in polyamorous relationships. As an African American woman, Roma has donated time and efforts to causes championing black women and mental health. Roma also enjoys working with individuals on their relationships with themselves and others. Being a California native, and moving to the south in her adult years, Roma has had plenty of experiences that have shaped her cultural development both professionally and personally. In her spare time, Roma enjoys fashion, all things wine, and traveling.
If you are in Houston or in any part of Texas, Georgia, Florida, or California and are ready to work with Roma click here.