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Issues of Sex and Gender in Society Today

All issues related to gender have been rather acute and debated since early times. Indeed, using such questions, one can deftly manipulate people for the sake of one’s benefit. Sometimes, it is done to raise a rating of some political party or politician. Nevertheless, the state of Arkansas recently has become the first to ban gender reassignment health services to persons under 18 years old. This decision considers both surgery and hormone therapy and other types of services related to gender change. The law was followed with a stormy and controversial reaction, and it was one of the most debated events. The rule seems to be somewhat ambiguous: on the one hand, it is caring for the young, but on the other, the risk of adverse reaction on their level increases.

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Authorities and people always pay special attention to accidents like this. The wrong decision of the government may provoke a strong reaction from people supporting the opposing positions. Before taking any radical measures, it is always carefully considered by many people. In Arkansas, a decision was made up to prohibit the provision of medical services for gender reassignment to persons under 18 years of age. The struggle for the rights of transgender people is gaining momentum, and often enters the legal field, thereby attracting public attention. (Contiades and Fotiadou 2020). Against the background of this fact, such a decision attracted great attention and caused a public response. Politicians and people were divided into two camps: those who supported such a decision and those against it. Naturally, it was mentioned in the media many times, and many different opinions occurred since some people considered it a pretty tough decision.

There is a relatively solid historical foundation for this issue in the United States, and such a decision is not novel. The first severe decisions at the official level regarding transgender people were made in the last century. Accordingly, “as early as in 1955, states enacted legislation allowing transsexual persons to change their legal sex status.” (Rose K. C. 2018, p. 4). The opposite opinion regarding this decision caused quite an explosive negative reaction from equality followers. It is well known that one of the main principles of democracy is freedom. Therefore, it is logical that authorities were guided by the fact that a person can do whatever one wants, within reasonable limits. It should have been supported in the legal field somehow, but not just with the words. Thus, such a decision became popular throughout the country: “By the end of the 20th century, over half of America’s states had such statutes” (Rose K. C. 2018, p. 4). One can see that such resolutions are not something unusual and exotic in the historical aspect.

Such a low might seem too harsh and utterly wrong to many people, and they might be right to some extent. While making a decision, the thoughts of the second party, namely the people who are affected by this decision, were not taken into account. Eventually, trans persons have rightly advocated their principle not to take any decisions without their opinion (Velez and Carlson 2021). In the end, these are the same people who have the right to decide for themselves when it comes to themselves. Making such a decision without any discussion with the trans community may seem like a rather anti-democratic action. After all, the main principle of democracy was not taken into account, and this term consists of the power of the people.

On the other hand, the problem with this issue has been relevant for a long time. The issues with transgender persons have been prevalent over the last decade (Cannoot 2019). Thereby, one can observe an increasing tendency of such incidents. In this regard, such a decision may be correct since the age of making an important decision is a critical factor. There is a danger that a decision to change gender made before the age of 18 may cause actual harm to a person in the future. It is known that the psyche of young people is unstable; people often make mistakes at this age. There is a high probability that in the future when a person is fully aware of the responsibility for decisions, he would regret what they did. This scenario can lead to depression, nervous breakdowns, and maybe even suicidal thoughts in the future. As a result, such a limitation might be beneficial since a person still has the opportunity to do what one wants after 18 years.

In the context of this issue, there are possible ways to resolve this problem. If one talks about the role of the state, then it should evaluate whether its decisions make sense and whether these resolutions have the right balance (Lerer 2021). It turns out that in order not to cause unnecessary pressure on certain groups of people, one should consider their reactions. A possible concrete way of solving this problem is polls or referenda. Firstly, it will increase the rating of the current government, as the people like it when their opinion is taken into account. Secondly, polls will solve the problem associated with the uncertain reaction of people to some decisions. Even if some respondents disagree with the decision, their negative response will not be so sharp since their opinion was taken into account anyway.

A potential way to resolve this issue would also be concrete actions by the authorities in this regard. To the record, the number of reforms in different political structures has increased (Contiades and Fotiadou 2020). This trend confirms that such actions could be an effective way to reduce people’s dissatisfaction; in other words, it will lead to the settlement of this issue. Such decisions can include legislative and judicial reforms and changes in the very structure of power. When a person can notice tangible actions from the authority, it evokes positive emotions and a sense of accomplishing the aim. Such actions will show that people who wanted to be heard have achieved their goals. Changes at the state level may include reforms in the systems of services provision, education, medicine, and entertainment. Such changes should improve these areas for certain groups of people, particularly the trans community.

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Consequently, the problem with the rights of transgender people is urgent today. The situation escalates after some authorities’ decisions, such as the decision to ban the provision of medical services. This decision implies a ban on gender reassignment for persons under 18 years. The solution is rather ambiguous since, on the one hand, it seems undemocratic and violates human freedoms. On the other hand, in some cases, it can help keep people from making bad decisions. Summing up, it becomes distinctly that in any case, the state must maintain a balance and carefully consider each such determination.

References

Cannoot, P. (2019). ‘#WontBeErased’: The effects of (de)pathologisation and (de)medicalisation on the legal capacity of trans* persons. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry, vol. 66.

Contiades, X., Fotiadou, A. (Eds.), (2020). Routledge Handbook of Comparative Constitutional Change. Routledge.

Lerer, L. (2021). Asa Hutchinson on Arkansas’s Anti-Trans Law and the G.O.P. Culture Wars. The New York Times.

Rose, K., C. (2018). Forgotten Paths: American Transgender Legal History, 1955-2009. University of Iowa.

Velez, I. C. J., Carlson, L. (2021). Trans Rights and Wrongs: A Comparative Study of Legal Reform Concerning Trans Persons. Springer Nature.

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