Cartoon: Gender Affirming Care Is Evil Except When It’s Not

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Welcome back to still-new-but-slightly-less-new-now collaborator Nadine Scholtes. I’m happy to say we’ll be seeing more of Nadine’s work here.

Lettering panel one was a challenge because there was no place I could put three balloons that wouldn’t cover up some background detail I really liked. “I can’t put it there, I like that hole in the tree trunk… but I can’t cover up that park bench… but…”

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Justin T. Brown, in an autobiographical essay with the very descriptive title “When I started growing breasts as a teen boy, I got gender-affirming care without stigma,” writes:

When I confided in my conservative dad about what was happening, I was about 15. He saw how much this was holding me back, and we immediately went to a plastic surgeon for a consultation. A quick procedure and a few weeks of wearing an ace bandage later, I was flat-chested and finally had a body that looked like mine….

It was straightforward: I’m a dude, I was born a dude, I want to be a dude, and having breasts didn’t align with that for me. They needed to go for me to live a fuller life. 

Here’s what I know for sure, had I been trans and seeking the same surgery, there’s a good chance it wouldn’t have been as easy as it was for me — 20 years ago in rural Maine or today.

Vic Parsons, a writer and trans man, writes about the same double-standard:

When I wanted to try taking testosterone, I first had to go to my GP for a referral that meant I then spent several years on an NHS gender clinic waiting list. Finally I had two hours-long appointments, one with a social worker and one with a clinical psychologist, discussing everything from my childhood to my sex life to my mental health. I received the precious diagnosis of gender dysphoria, which permits me to obtain gender-affirming hormones and surgery. Then, finally, I was prescribed testosterone gel.

…As a cis man, my GP could order a blood test and, if my testosterone levels were low, send me to a specialist (after a wait of weeks, rather than years) who could prescribe me testosterone gel. Note: no several years spent waiting, and no need to obtain a clinical diagnosis to prove myself.

In both cases, testosterone gel is being used as a gender-affirming treatment. But the way the same medication is prescribed is hugely different.

We see this double standard play out in the popular debate over and over. Puberty delaying drugs, aka GnRH agonists, have been prescribed to cis children with precocious puberty for decades without controversy; no medicine is entirely risk-free, but GnRH agonists are low-risk and can greatly improve the course of a child’s life by delaying puberty. But once it became known GnRH agonists were being prescribed to trans kids, famous writers and elected politicians are equating them with Nazi experimentation. It’s appalling. Cis kids and adults should have the same access to medicine that trans kids and adults do – and the decision should be one made by the patient with their parents and doctors, not right-wing jackasses on Fox.

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This cartoon has four panels. Each of them shows the same two characters walking through a park. The character on the left has a gender-ambiguous look, with short hair on the sides and a big puff on top, glasses, jeans, and a purple plaid flannel shirt open over a blue t-shirt. We’ll call them “Flannel.”

The character on the right is a guy, has short, neat hair, and is wearing a thick zip-up hoodie over a white t-shirt. We’ll call him “Hoodie.”


The two are walking along a paved footpath through a park, Hoodie in front. Both of them are calm.

HOODIE: So-called “gender affirming care” is an atrocity!

FLANNEL: So a cis girl with PCOS shouldn’t get medicine to reduce facial hair?

HOODIE: I don’t mean that.


A closer shot from the front; the two are still walking along without facing each other (Hoodie’s back is to Flannel), and still calm.

FLANNEL: Are you against breast reduction surgery for cis boys with gynecomastia?



The same scene as they walk on.

FLANNEL: Cis women getting laser hair removal? Cis men taking testosterone? Boob jobs for cis teens? Rogaine and Viagra for cis men?

HOODIE: All those are fine.


Hoodie suddenly turns around, leaning forward, angry and yelling; Flannel, surprised, leans back.

FLANNEL: How about when a trans person–


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Gender Affirming Care: Evil Except When It’s Not | Patreon

This entry posted in Cartooning & comics, Sex & Gender, Transsexual and Transgender related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

3 Responses to Cartoon: Gender Affirming Care Is Evil Except When It’s Not

  1. 1
    Dianne says:

    Okay, I know this is a side issue at best, but…

    GnRH agonists are in no way experimental. Some of them are labeled for use in children, which means that the experiments have come and gone. There were children who were experimented on using these drugs–with their assent and their parents informed consent. Now, these medications are standard of care, which is kind of the polar opposite of experimentation: it’s considered unethical to withhold standard of care treatment without the explicit consent and understanding of the patient.

    “Experimental” as a scare word is nonsensical in any case. There is nothing wrong with experimental therapeutics, as long as the people receiving them are aware of the risks and willing to take these risks. In the case of children, both the child and the parent or guardian must agree for the experimental therapy to go forward. It’s nothing like the Nazi “experiments” (which were bad science as well as horrific ethics) or even like the Tuskegee experiment (better science, still horrific ethics).

  2. 2
    bcb says:

    Thanks for making this comic!

    Yeah, “experimental” is what we call new medicines that have the potential to work better than old medicines. And obviously, spironolactone hasn’t been experimental since the FDA approved it in 1959.

  3. 3
    mograph says:

    I think I get it now: to people like the guy in the hoodie, gender-affirming care is acceptable if it makes a person more cisgender, but unacceptable if it makes them less cisgender.

    … which means he’s anti-everything-but-cis, I think.