Talk show host John Oliver recently took time to discuss the misinformation about gender-affirming healthcare. Several Republican states in the United States have banned or placed heavy restrictions on gender-affirming care for young trans people.
In his “Last Week Tonight” show, Oliver spoke about trans rights as the show’s main topic for the first time in over half a decade. He clarified several false assumptions concerning younger trans children and slightly grown-up adolescent youths.
Read on to learn more.
John Oliver Said Younger Children Go Through Social Transition
In a Sunday episode of “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver,” the show host talked about the current misinformation concerning transgender youth gender-affirming care and highlighted where it was wrong. As a result of the circulated misinformation, several republican led states in the US have put up bans and restrictions for gender-affirming care for minors.
Oliver explained that unlike what most people thought, children do not undergo surgery immediately after identifying themselves as trans. He said per Yahoo Online, “To hear some tell it, as soon as a child declares themselves trans, there is an immediate, irreversible surgical decision undertaken, and there just isn’t.”
“In younger children, it can mean nothing more than a social transition, like calling them by a new name, or giving them a new haircut or clothing, or providing them with psychological or behavioral support. Because, to be very clear, prepubescent children are not eligible for medical interventions,” the show host continued.
John Oliver Said Puberty Blockers Were Reversible
Further on, Oliver talked about how gender-affirming care worked for adolescents, and unlike anti-trans people claimed, the care was entirely reversible. Most times, puberty blockers were used for adolescents to hold off the effects of puberty till a time when they could undergo whatever procedure they chose if they chose to.
“At the onset of puberty, an adolescent and their family might consider puberty blockers, hormones that delay puberty,” the show host explained. “And importantly, if that treatment is suspended, then puberty will resume, meaning that this is reversible. Think of it like the pause button, the thing that you can’t do easily on the HBO Max app.”
Oliver further explained that transitioning was not a decision one made with little thought; instead, it was carried out after a long process that involved the consent of the parent or guardian of the patient.
He said, “All of this would only happen after a team of medical professionals discussed all of its benefits with their patient and their patient’s parents or guardian, all of whom would have to sign off. It is a long, involved process, even before you get to the fact that it is also incredibly expensive.”
John Oliver Said Trans People Shouldn’t Have To Fight To Receive The Care They Need
Towards the end of the Sunday show, Oliver focused on the lighter points, explaining allowing a trans person to compete in sports alongside their cisgender opponents could have a massive impact on trans child.
He explained that they shouldn’t have to resort to lobbying and to fight against politicians to be who they desired or receive the care they wanted. The show host added that placing the bans could make trans people significantly more unhappy than the rest of the population.
“When supported, trans kids can experience full, vibrant lives,” Oliver continued. “Trans people are not by default unhappier or more prone to suffering than everyone else. That is something that we are putting on them.”
Republican Led States Ban Gender Affirming Care For Trans Youth
Despite gender-affirming care being supported by several medical groups in the US, a number of states have placed bans and restrictions to stop trans youths from accessing this care. Notable groups like the American Medical Association, the Children’s Hospital Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics are only a few of the organizations that gave the procedure the go-ahead.
Arkansas was the first state in the US to outlaw medical treatments for trans people below the legal age. The state, which consists of a primarily Republican legislature, voted to throw out the veto of House Bill 1570 by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The bill previously limited specific treatment access for people younger than 18.
The new law, however, forbids doctors from giving gender-confirming hormone therapy as well as puberty blockers and gender-confirmation surgeries to minors. Doctors were also prohibited from advising patients to visit other healthcare providers.