Happy Pride Month! Before you make plans for Pride, read this article for insight into one of the biggest issues impacting queer youth today: access to care. In Mississippi, 19,000 teens aged 13 to 17 identify as being part of the LGBTQ+ community. We want each and every one of them to have access to tools and resources to make informed decisions about their health. In this article, we’ll discuss what to look out for when considering BC, share resources developed specifically for queer teens, and list where you can learn more*.
*Quick Disclaimer: As of the time of writing (June 2023), the information listed in this article is accurate. However it is important to be aware of current state regulations that prohibit hormone therapies, such as puberty blockers, for people under 18 in Mississippi. We recommend talking to healthcare professionals for the most up to date information and guidance.
BC Qs to Consider
For teens under 18 – Do you need your parent’s permission to get a BC prescription?
We’ve gotten many questions about whether a parent’s permission is needed to get birth control. It’s important to keep in mind that while talking to parents about sex can be stressful, it is a conversation worth having. In a good relationship, parents or guardians can offer support, guidance, and help you avoid potential challenges (check out this post for tips on starting the conversation).
If you’re looking to get a prescription with total confidentiality, you can go to a Title X clinic. These clinics offer sexual and reproductive health services like pregnancy tests, screenings for STIs or STDs, and prescriptions for the Pill. Title X clinics charge a “sliding-scale fee” which is based on what you can afford to pay.
If you pay for your visit in cash, there will be no record of it sent to your parents or guardian. However, if you pay by using your family’s health insurance, then your parents are likely to see the charge when the insurance statement of benefits arrives in the mail.
If you’re transitioning, why would you need to take BC?
People use birth control for a variety of reasons–one of which is to prevent pregnancy. Other reasons include acne control, improving PCOS or PMS symptoms, or to lower the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.
It’s important for trans-masculine (those who were assigned female at birth but identify with masculinity) teens and young adults to consider all their options when it comes to BC, since they can still become pregnant if they’re having vaginal sex. The same goes for trans-feminine teens and young adults–they can still get their partner pregnant, or contract STIs through unprotected sex.
Our advice? Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional about what you want from your BC. Be sure to always practice safe sex practices (like using a condom or other barrier) to avoid getting an STI. And if you’re wondering if HRT (hormone replacement therapy) can be used instead of other reliable forms of birth control, keep reading. We’ll get into it.
Is it safe to take BC while on T (testosterone)?
Trans-masculine teens may wonder about how birth control can impact gender-affirming hormone therapy (like taking testosterone). In most cases, it is safe to take hormone-based contraceptives, even those that are estrogen-based, alongside testosterone, but it’s important to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about your options to find a method that works best for you.
For AFAB (assigned female at birth) teens, there are many hormone-free forms of contraception that can be used, if that’s your preference. Whatever you choose, remember to always include safe sex practices, like using a condom or other barriers, to protect against STIs. Check out our BC page to learn more.
Can T by itself be used as a contraceptive?
This is a pretty popular sex myth. While testosterone may stop menstrual bleeding, it will not protect against pregnancy (or STIs)!
Can estrogen by itself be used as a contraceptive?
While estrogen has been shown to lower sperm count, transfemmes undergoing GAHT should still use a reliable form of contraception to avoid causing an unwanted pregnancy.
What factors should you consider when choosing a form of contraception?
When it comes to contraception, everyone has different needs. Consider how one kind of BC would fit into your daily schedule or routine as opposed to another. Think about if you have any underlying health conditions, sensitivities, or allergies. Consider your long-term health goals. Going to a consultation, and discussing your plans with a doctor, may help in choosing the right BC for you.
Mental Health Resources
According to 2022 survey findings from the Trevor Project, 60% of LGBTQ+ youth who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it. Everyone, regardless of their sexual identification or preference, should be able to get the care they need.
The Mississippi Department of Mental Health (DMH) has a wide variety of community-based mental health services you can use to get care. The new 988 Suicide & Crisis hotline line is also an essential resource for those who need crisis support. Just press 3 to talk to counselors specifically trained to support LGBTQ+ callers.
Spread the Word
Sharing this article is just as much a display of allyship as serving at the parade. The more knowledge and access queer teens have to the health resources around them, the better able they are to lead healthy lives. So, be sure to share these resources with friends or family members and stay tuned for more facts!