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Gender-Affirming Care Saves Lives

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Gender-Affirming Care Saves Lives

Gender-affirming healthcare refers to an array of medical treatments that support an individual’s gender identity. For young people, that most often includes mental health services and pharmaceutical intervention. Gender-affirming care greatly improves the mental health and overall well-being of gender-diverse, transgender, and nonbinary individuals.


What is Gender-Affirming Care?

As mentioned, gender-affirming care is a supportive form of healthcare that consists of an array of services that may include medical, surgical, mental health, and non-medical services for transgender and non-binary people. The type and method of gender-affirming care look different for different age groups. For adolescents, early gender-affirming care is crucial to their overall health and well-being as it allows them to focus on social transitions and can increase their confidence in navigating the healthcare system.

Affirming Care What is it?
Social Affirmation Adopting gender-affirming hairstyles, clothing, name, pronouns, restrooms and other facilities
Hormone Therapy Testosterone hormones for those who were assigned female at birth; Estrogen hormones for those who were assigned male at birth
Gender-Affirming Surgeries “Top” surgery – to create male-typical chest shape or enhance breasts

“Bottom” surgery – surgery on genitals or reproductive organs

Facial feminization or other procedures

So far, a multidisciplinary approach that includes mental health support, primary care, and hormone therapy has proven to be necessary for gender-affirming healthcare.

Why is Gender-Affirming Care Important?

In the United States alone, an estimated 1.4 million people identify as transgender, and a further 1.2 million adults ages 18-60 identify as nonbinary. According to The Trevor Project’s 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, 45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year. In fact, receiving gender-affirming healthcare has been associated with nearly 75% lower odds of suicidality among trans and nonbinary young people. 

Withholding gender-affirming care can make health conditions worse or lead to other conditions, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance Use
  • Eating Disorders


These conditions can persist for years and require ongoing treatment. Not only that, but transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals are more likely to experience homelessness, poverty, and violence.

In short, gender-affirming healthcare saves lives. A safe and affirming healthcare environment is critical in fostering better outcomes for transgender, nonbinary, and other nonconforming individuals. Gender-affirming healthcare practices have been demonstrated to yield lower rates of mental health issues, build self-esteem, and improve an individual’s overall quality of life. Peer support is also crucial in fostering positive outcomes for these individuals.

A multidisciplinary approach that includes mental health support, primary care, and hormone therapy has proven to be necessary for gender-affirming healthcare.

Access to Care

Unfortunately, legislation attempting to limit, ban, or criminalize access to gender-affirming treatments has been growing. 

In May 2022, Alabama enacted a law that makes providing gender-affirming healthcare to trans youth a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. In Texas, gender-affirming care can be classified as “child abuse,” and at least 22 states have introduced similar bills.

The growing attacks on healthcare for trans youth go directly against medical evidence that proves its benefits, targeting healthcare professionals and supportive families.


How Sage is Helping

Sage is proud to offer gender-affirming care! With the onboarding of Dr. Kathleen Colleran, who specializes in primary care and endocrinology, we are able to offer our patients integrated services at our outpatient clinic in Albuquerque. We also have multiple therapists who specialize in LGBTQ issues.

Contact us today to be scheduled for an evaluation and discover your custom treatment plan!



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