I want to thank Gov. Mills and the Maine Legislature for introducing L.D. 1040, which would codify coverage of gender-affirming care under MaineCare. This is especially important now that too many other states are banning gender-affirming care for minors.

For those unfamiliar with gender-affirming care, it’s important to know that for young people this does not typically include procedures or surgeries that are irreversible. Instead, this care focuses on allowing trans youth to transition socially with voice coaching, therapy, and affirming the child’s preferred pronouns, name and fashion choices. This could later include puberty blockers and hormonal therapy.

I freely admit that I don’t know what trans kids are experiencing. But I do know this: Adolescence is hard enough under the best of circumstances, and it’s cruel to make it even harder for trans youth by banning gender-affirming care. Such bans lead to increased rates of depression, self-harm and suicide.

I consider supporting trans people both a moral issue and one of faith. As a Unitarian Universalist, my faith affirms that all LGBTQIA+ people are sacred and divine. The first principle of Unitarian Universalism recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of all people. Anti-trans bills violate the human rights and dignity of trans people.

For me, what matters is that trans people are just that – people. They’re the same as anyone else in every fundamental way. They have the right to live free from discrimination and to receive the care they need.

Erica Bartlett

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