Dear Planned Parenthood,
You have been an important health care provider to me in the past and I deeply value your care for everyone seeking reproductive health services. It is with great sadness that I cannot continue to support your work. Your new policy of ‘gender-affirming hormone therapy’ strikes me as terribly misguided and potentially incredibly harmful.
You advertise the ability to be prescribed ‘gender-affirming hormones’ “the same day as your first visit. No letter from a mental health provider is required.” I have some specific thoughts on what makes this a very dangerous option:
Physical impact of hormones
My mother passed away from complications from post-menopausal hormone replacement therapy that resulted in malignant cancer and stroke. No doctor took the time to review her genetic history to assess whether she was predisposed to cancer or cardiovascular risk from exogenous hormones. It turns out, she was in a high-risk category for both cancer and cardiovascular disease.
During the same-day visits you advertise, do you have a conversation about genetic risk factors? Are your younger patients able to articulate their genetic risk factors? Are you evaluating any cancer or cardiovascular risks in your patients before prescribing hormones that could elevate risks in predisposed populations? If not, why not?
Mental health background of prospective patients
I have a child with rapid onset gender dysphoria. This child of mine was recently diagnosed with ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Other diagnoses common to this group include anxiety and depression. Does this profile sound familiar?
It should, because a significant subset of the population reaching out to organisations like yours for transgender pharmaceutical treatment have ADHD, ASD, or both, and very frequently depression and anxiety. Has Planned Parenthood noticed this? Have you inquired with your new patients? If not, why not?
While my child learns to live as a neurodiverse person in this world, I would hate to see him put aside skills and tools to help him achieve self-acceptance in favour of trying to become a new person, and potentially add hormonal fluctuations to existing mental health challenges. However he dresses and characterises himself, he will always be this unique person on the inside.
Could he walk into Planned Parenthood without a letter from any of his care providers, and without the rich context of his history and mental health challenges be offered the message that a new identity awaits him? Would you inform him that drugs and surgery will not help him outrun his intrinsic nature and his unique way of seeing the world? Would you care that your treatment may add to his mental health challenges?
As someone on the spectrum whose struggles with my own identity as a biological woman made me the person I am, I cannot imagine peddling this ‘solution’ to vulnerable, autistic youth. This population deserves better than to be ‘affirmed’ that they are wrong and in the wrong body. They deserve better care than a one-size-fits-all solution. The autistic population tends to see gender in a different way than our neurotypical peers, but this does not mean that we have to sign up for a lifetime of pharmaceuticals to conform and be accepted.
Gender vs sex
As a feminist, I find the idea of selling the narrative that society can (and must!) affirm a new identity and conflate sex and gender to be misogynistic. Where do biological women and our specific rights fit into this narrative?
If gender identity is valued more than biological reality, the rights and protections for biological women become meaningless. I encourage your organisation to take a step back and more fully appreciate how this new direction and set of principles may impact biological women.
We owe it to young women to look out for their rights and be honest in our discussions about sex and gender and how one is immutable and the other is not. I believe you are abandoning the rights and protections of biological women in your fervour to be a provider of trans services.
For these reasons and so many more, I will no longer donate to Planned Parenthood. You are harming a whole generation of young people with the services you offer, and I cannot in good conscience support this in any way.
There are so many more like me who support a woman’s right to choose and know that you have been our most important source of help in the past. I am really sad that this is where we part ways.
This article has been republished from Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT).