Letter to the editor: On SB 480, from a trans student

Graphic by Corrina Reiss.

The Butler Collegian is committed to sharing diverse viewpoints from across the university and to upholding values of free speech. However, the Collegian does not endorse or promote opinions contained within any letter to the editor.

Dear Editor,

I want to thank the staff at the Collegian for the article that appeared in last week’s edition covering HB 1608. I write to you today regarding SB 480, an even more sullen and vitriolic bill designed to undermine transgender Hoosiers by preventing them from getting medically necessary gender-affirming care.

We deserve access to healthcare, just as all our peers do. Gender-affirming care is safe, effective and saves lives every day. It is medically necessary, supported by an overwhelming body of evidence, and every major healthcare association, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, supports it. 

SB 480 aims to criminalize providing gender-affirming healthcare to adolescent and young adult patients. This bill includes provisions banning the use of puberty blockers, which delay the onset of secondary sex characteristics in pre-teen patients, and of hormone replacement therapy, HRT, which supports the development of those secondary sex characteristics in line with a patient’s gender identity.

Criminalizing the right for medical practitioners to make medical decisions within the scope of their expertise with consenting patients goes against a fundamental purpose of healthcare: putting the right people in the right place with the right technology at the right time to better lives.

As a young trans woman, I was never afforded the opportunity to receive gender-affirming care until recently. Growing up in a purple state, I could not be out to my bigoted parents, and I was too scared to be out to friends and peers. I actively suppressed myself. The signs were always there since I was born, but I didn’t acknowledge them. Once I did acknowledge them, I kept telling myself it was just a phase — until that phase turned into over half a decade. I never attempted suicide, but I sure thought it would have been better than whatever I was living as. I traveled across state lines to a red state and came to Butler, still financially leashed to back home.

My existence today is despite all these facts, not because of them. I started therapy with Counseling and Consultation Services and found myself verbalizing thoughts I swore to never let resurface again. I made new friends and was exposed to a worldview where people like me were welcomed and supported. I started working two jobs on campus, and only this month after years of “just wishing I could be myself,” I finally started HRT by paying for it 100% out-of-pocket.

This half-a-decade “phase” would’ve looked a lot different if I received gender-affirming care as a youth. Puberty blockers would have prevented a deeper voice, broader shoulders and pigmented body and facial hair. HRT as an early teen would have allowed my body to develop right alongside my cisgender female peers. Now, it is going to take a decade or more for my physical body to adjust to what my brain was expecting since birth.

Gender-affirming care through social and hormonal transitioning is the evidence-backed treatment that saves the lives of trans people every day. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to suicide. Delaying puberty blockers or HRT until legal adulthood will kill people and send a message to trans people of all ages that we don’t deserve to live. It is much safer and more effective to just allow medical doctors to make medical decisions and allow all Hoosiers to live.

Bulldogs, I beg of you: call your legislators, your state senator and representative, and urge them to oppose SB480. 

Legislators: eat an apple, and stay the hell out of the doctor’s office. 

Eleanor, student, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


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