Abortion, Trans Health, & Human Rights
Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Content warning: misogyny, transphobia, gender dysphoria, doctor not taking complaints seriously, mentions of mistreatment from friends & family, anti-choice conversation
Author's note: For clarity and in the interest of being concise, trans and gender-expansive are being used throughout as umbrella terms to simply mean someone who does not identify 100% or at all with their gender assigned at birth. The trans label includes nonbinary and other gender-expansive people, but not all nonbinary/gender-expansive people are trans.
As a binary, trans man who has been impacted by anti-choice laws and participates in allyship for minority communities, I never want to speak over someone with a different life experience as my own. Part of that is not speaking over topics that I have never experienced, so while I will talk about my experience as trans, know it is just that, my experience. If you would like to offer your thoughts or experiences, I invite you to email me or message our Instagram page.
I'm not here to convince you.
I'm not here to make you understand that I am a human being deserving of respect and bodily autonomy. If you can't believe me based on my status as a living human being, this blog post is not for you. I do not owe you an explanation; I do not have to justify myself to you. I do not care about your feelings if your feelings say I am a freak, an agent of satan, a mentally unstable liberal. Again, this post is not for you.
Trans Rights and Abortion Access are Two Sides of the Same Coin:
Anyone who reads the news has seen the headlines about bathroom bills, access to trans healthcare for minors, prohibiting changes to gender markers. You've seen the abortion bans, bills that encourage vigilante bounty hunters, and restrictions to self-managed abortions. These bills stem from a need to control minority groups.
Whether someone is pursuing medically transitioning or an abortion (or sometimes both), they are met with judgment from anti-choice, pro-hate people. They are met with "well-intentioned" doubt. They are met with passive-aggressive comments at the least and vile, injurious actions at the worst.
When a trans or gender expansive person comes out, a common reaction from those they love (accepting or not) is for them to loudly grieve a person that truly never existed, you don't wake up one day and just decide, "Hmm, I feel like being trans." It's years of suffering and feeling out of place and being disconnected from the image you see in the mirror. It's being born as a boy and treated like a girl for the first 20+ years of your life, and you don't know why it feels so wrong. Feelings are projected on the trans person that they should not be required to carry. You are allowed to have your feelings, but it is not up to anyone else to manage them.
People who have had abortions are treated the same way like they just murdered a person who doesn't even exist. Folks who have had late-term abortions don't wake up one day and go, "Hmm, lovely weather, I think I'll just pop on by the local clinic and have an abortion." Folks who choose to terminate haven't taken up getting pregnant and having an abortion as a hobby. Instead, they want to remain childfree, get through school, have other children that would suffer, or just don't want to be pregnant, so they terminate a clump of cells that only carry the potential of becoming a human being.
There is no murder committed between someone coming out or someone engaging in a medical procedure, but we are treated as monsters.
As I watch Republican states stripping my sisters and trans siblings of their rights to abortion, I know that anti-trans legislation has either proceeded it, is coming along with it, or will be following closely behind. Controlling those who need access to abortion and controlling trans and gender expansive folks are branches of the same tree.
Discrimination at the Doctor's:
"Hey Doc, I wanted to talk about my options for permanent birth control."
You watch as the doctor glances over your chart, looking for previous births, your age, and your marital status.
"Hmm," he purses his lips, "does your husband know you are asking?"
"Of course, we talked about it, my issues with hormonal birth control and the fact that we don't want any more children make it a nonissue."
"Oh," the pity in his voice rings condescendingly through the room, "young women always say it only to regret it once they feel their biological clock reaching the end of its countdown."
Did you gag as hard as I did as I was writing this? I had this same conversation at age 21, a year after my daughter was born. My doctor acted like the 30 minutes a year I saw him made him more qualified to talk about my life than I did. The person who was half of his family's income, the person who did the budgeting, the person who knew the hell he went through during the one pregnancy, the person who from a young age only wanted one kid. What gave him the right to decide what direction my life should head? This conversation would be repeated for 4 more years until I gave up and my husband got a vasectomy.
Now I'm dealing with another doctor thinking he knows what is best for me, as I am trying to get my insurance to cover my gender-affirming surgeries. "Are you sure you're trans?" "Don't you think you'll miss your breast?" "I know you had a traumatic incident a few years ago. You're not a man, you just feel powerless as a woman." On the bright side, I'm now being told that I'm eligible for that permanent birth control I've been begging for.
But why does a person who spends a few minutes evaluating you get to decide your future? Why do they get to tell you how you feel and what works best for your life? How can they attribute one traumatic event to a lifetime of feeling wrong?
Meet Caiden (He/Him):
Who is he:
I am a trans man in my mid-20s. I have socially transitioned and am currently medically transitioning. I am the birth giver to three children; two are my biological kids, and one as a gestational surrogate. I've been involved with reproductive justice since 2016 after breaking free from my Southern Baptist upbringing.
Why he fights for reproductive justice:
Abortion is healthcare. Plain and simple. As someone who has been faced with the decision of having a child when I couldn't afford it or termination, my choice was simple. Take care of my living child and give her the best life I can. Remember, the tree they are growing is Control, and many different branches are growing from their desire to control anyone who is not wealthy, white, and conservative.
Caiden's history with abortion providers:
I have a long history of using abortion clinics, from losing my health insurance at age 19 and needing birth control to being assaulted and needing STD testing to receiving support for an unwanted pregnancy. You know who was there without another $1000+ doctor's bill that would surely mean I'd be skipping meals to pay if I didn't have to let it go unpaid to afford my rent? My local Planned Parenthood.
Now I am going through gender-affirming hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with Planned Parenthood as my provider. I can go to the doctor without fear of being misgendered, dead-named, or judged.