Gynae Health

FGM/FGC does not equate to trans healthcare

FGM/FGC does not equate to trans healthcare

In December 2022 a draft legislation was introduced in Texas which amended the state’s health and safety code removing the word ‘female’ from ‘female genital mutilation/cutting’ (FGM/FGC) to equate gender-affirming healthcare with FGM in an attempt to criminalise healthcare for trans youth. 

According to Pew Research the average age a member of the LGBT community realises they are not straight is 17, that means that a high percentage of trans youth would be unable to receive the gender-affirming treatment they need for 3+ years if this legislation is approved. 

Not only does this legislation act as a step backwards in the fight for trans rights and the distinction between Sex vs Gender, but it also dilutes the severity of FGM/FGC as a global issue many indiviuals and organisations are fighting to eradicate. 

What is FGM/FGC and why does it happen?

FGM/FGC is the harmful practice involving full or partial removal, or injury to girl’s external genitals. Girls as young as 5 are subjected to this practice because of tradition among communities that see FGM/FGC as a social norm that is expected of all girls and women to maintain their virginity until marriage. 

FGM/FGC charity Orchid Project reported that it’s estimated that more than 200 million women and girls have undergone FGM/FGC within 32 countries, across 3 continents. This suggests that 4.1 million girls a year are at risk, and despite efforts to eradicate the practice this number continues to increase. 

Alongside the physical trauma women and girls experience from FGM/FGC many will experience lifelong negative impacts that are psychological and economic.

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How does this bill affect trans youth? 

After a negative year last year for trans people in the US we have already hit 225 anti-LGBTIQ bills in the US alone this year according to trans rights activist Alejandra Caraballo. And the common themes of these strikes against trans rights is criminalising gender-affirming healthcare and targeting trans youth. 

This Texas bill is no different. By removing the word ‘female’ from ‘female genital mutilation’ in the health and safety code they are opening up the opportunity for parents allowing their children to access gender-affirming treatments to be criminalised under the guise of child abuse. 

FGM/FGC is a completely harmful and non-consensual injury done to girls, under-18 gender-affirming procedures are rarely done, and are only prescribed after strict assessment and consent. They cannot be painted with the same brush, and therefore reflect the agenda behind this bill as being another way to take away the rights of trans people across the US. 

To help end FGM/FGC you can support organisations like Orchid Project and The Vavengers, and to support transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse youth you can work with charities like Mermaids and Stonewall.

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