The past few weeks have been especially hard for trans people, especially Trans Autistics, as legislators set their crosshairs on us with aims to remove our access to gender-affirming care because some cis-non-autistics think Trans Autistic People (and many others) are vulnerable and need to be protected (from our own choices).
Senate Bill 140 in Georga, a bill targeting the rights of trans youth to access trans-affirming healthcare, added language that included notes about Autistic People being more likely to experience gender dysphoria (without also noting it’s because we’re more likely to be trans). The language of the bill states that “Gender dysphoria is often comorbid with other mental health and developmental 17 conditions, including autism spectrum disorder.”
Next, in Missouri, in what has been described as a “first-of-its-kind emergency rule” by Attorney General Andrew Bailey a law targeting trans adults with NeuroDivergence and various mental health conditions (such as depression, anxiety, and Autism).
NOTE: This bill was UP when I started writing this piece this morning and the link is not working at this time, but I am leaving the link up in hopes it comes back (since I can’t find the rule anywhere else).
This new “emergency rule” requires trans people wishing to access gender-affirming care to undergo “a full psychological or psychiatric assessment, consisting of not fewer than 15 separate, hourly sessions … over the course of not fewer than 18 months to explore the developmental influences on the patient’s current gender identity and to determine, among other things, whether the person has any mental health comorbidities” requiring “any psychiatric symptoms from existing mental health comorbidities of the patient have been treated and resolved” before they’re able to access care.
Additionally, patients seeking gender-affirming care (regardless of age) must receive “a comprehensive screening to determine whether the patient has autism” with a notation that “autistic spectrum disorders are overrepresented among adolescents suffering from gender dysphoria and recommending rehabilitative interventions to address autism)” and steering us into ABA instead of getting to transition… Running trans-Autistics into ABA (AUTISTIC CONVERSION THERAPY).
Doctors must also monitor patients to ensure patients receiving care are “not experiencing social contagion with respect to the patient’s gender identity.”
I have many questions about how the “annual social monitoring” will work.
The language in the new regulations doesn’t give much to go on. Vaguless like this in legislation leaves far too much open for interpretation.
Then, if you are trans and not Autistic, have no mental health conditions, and meet all the new requirements to access gender-affirming care, you STILL have to undergo mandatory FORCED State Sponsored Conversion Therapy for 18 months before YOU can access care, specifically at least 15 1 hour-long sessions of (CONVERSION) therapy (talking about the dangers of transition, discouraging them from this decision) “over a minimum of at least 18 months before seeking gender-affirming care”.
For the cis people reading who may not understand why this is so scary for trans people, the wording of this new “emergency rule” excludes most trans people (not just children, but also adults) from accessing gender-affirming care.
The incongruency many trans people feel (gender dysphoria) causes anxiety and depression (listed as “mental health comorbidities” in this emergency rule).
For a large percentage of us, the answer to the incongruency we experience (gender dysphoria) and the resulting anxiety and depression it causes is transition.
Many trans people’s anxiety and depression can be alleviated by transition (and may only get worse without it).
Taking transition off the table until a person is no longer anxious or depressed (when the answer to the anxiety and depression caused by gender dysphoria is transition) means many people may stay depressed and anxious (because the cure for that pain is withheld from them).
Requiring mental health comorbidities to “be treated and resolved” before a trans person can transition is cruel. It will drastically reduce the number of trans people able to access care (and on earth, as many will die without this care).
The people in power know that if they require us to be healthy to access the treatments we need (that can make us healthy), they can avoid giving us the medicine we need, and without those treatments, many of us will die, which is no accident.
It is all an assault on trans people. The hate, legal restrictions, and trans erasure from public spaces (bathrooms, schools, speech, and sporting events) are all acts of anti-trans genocide.
Right now, there is a focus on Autistic trans rights, but what about the future?
If Autitsics are ruled to have fewer rights to autonomy than other adults (because we are labeled to be “vulnerable adults”), will they decide we cannot drink, drive, go to adults-only spaces, or smoke?
Today they’re denying our access to medical care. Will they come after our rights to live without a custodianship or competency as parents next?
I worry that once language is adopted in legal forums that implies Autistics are less capable of making choices for ourselves, this language could be used to deny our autonomy in other areas.
If Autistic People are determined “too vulnerable” to know what’s best for us in one area of our lives, what’s to stop them from applying this logic to other areas?
This assault on Trans Autistic people IS an assault on ALL Autistic People, just like this assault on Trans Autistic People is an assault on ALL trans people.
Additionally, the stripping away of the rights of anyone group of people is an assault on the rights of ALL people – even if you’re not Autistic, even if you’re not NeuroDivergent, even if you’re not trans, they could be (and very likely may) coming for YOU next.
This fight for our rights isn’t just trans rights or Autistics rights – this is about HUMAN rights. When they take rights from one of us, they take rights from all of us.
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