- bear a child or young.
Babies, families, the next generation… Our community deserves the right to make their own people too! We also deserve the right to abortions and birth control. We too are birthgivers and we are often left out of the conversation around reproductive rights and family planning. Why?
When we think transmasculine people with regard to the right to not have a child, unwanted pregnancies can affect us in a similar ways it can affect cis women. However, the issues with accessing abortion and consented sterilization, transmasculine people who become pregnant can face further difficulties. Transmasculine individuals may experience mental stress and social stigma in accessing services defined as “women’s services”; stigma, discrimination and violence coming from medical service providers; and refusal of services from healthcare providers. There also may be unknown potential drug interactions between abortion pills and/or birth-control medication and testosterone. Individuals may also experience being denied access to medical transition within mental health systems because they aren’t seen as “trans enough” due to pregnancy. Providers also seem to have a general ignorance around the need for birth-control when on testosterone. An additional barrier to basic health care even outside of other issues like the affordability or accessibility of services is created because of this.
Transmasculine individuals already do not engage with medical providers due to discrimination, misgendering, and a lack of compentcy and respect. This distances the transmasc community from family planning and reproductive services.
In the realm of reproductive health, there are already unique challenges for people assigned female at birth (AFAB), even more so for Transmasc folks. We have to contend with provider bias, insurance coverage restrictions, physical discomfort, and misinformation. These factors have historically and consistantly stop our community from accessing quality, gender-inclusive care like abortions, pap, chest cancer screenings, pregnancy and pre & post-natal care, and fertility preservation. A study done by the Guttmacher Institute estimated that “462 to 530 TGNB [Transgender and Gender Non-Binary] individuals obtained abortions in 2017 and that 23 percent of clinics provide transgender-specific care.” Seventy-three percent of nonhospital facilities that provided abortions to TGNB patients did not provide transgender-specific health care.
In another study of obstetrician-gynecologists, “80% had no trans-specific health care training in residency and only 33% reported feeling comfortable in providing care to transmasculine patients”. (Unger, 2015) Transmasculine folks are over 10x more likely to have unsual paps and are at higher risk of cervical cancer than cisgender women. If transmasc folks wanting to have future children are not fully and comprehensively counseled about their fertility options before transition-related treatment, they could lose their ability to have a biological child. UNFAIR! In one study done, 77% of trans men had not considered freezing their eggs at the time of hormone replacement therapy despite more than half saying they wanted to have children
People transitioning on their own by buying hormones outside of the health care system are even less likely to have proper counseling on potential infertility and fertility preservation options. Our community NEEDS to be informed about our options when it comes to family planning so that they are given the same opportunities to build families of their own. Along with our community being educated, healthcare providers also need a bit of education on options available to their transmasc patients. Sometimes these providers are not transphobic but more trans ignorant, they simply don’t know.
Have a different opinion or perception? Have you experienced this? Join the conversation and comment below and let’s talk about this.
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