Birth Control is for Everyone
No matter where you fall on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, there’s a birth control method out there for you.
Like cisgender and straight people, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming folks experience unintended pregnancy. So it makes sense that all the birth control methods available for cisgender and straight people are also available for queer people.
No matter where you fall on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, there’s a birth control method out there for you. Here’s what to know about all your birth control options. For answers to your specific questions, make an appointment to talk to a provider at your nearest The Right Time health center.
Birth Control for Folks with Ovaries and a Uterus
Period Regulation or Suppression
Hormonal birth control can help regulate a person’s periods or make them go away completely. For some people, gender dysphoria (the feeling that their gender identity does not match the identity they were given at birth) may worsen when they get their period, so many patients seek methods to stop their cycle. Not everyone on the transmasculine/gender nonconforming spectrum uses testosterone for their transition, but for those who do, monthly periods often lighten or stop completely. But for anyone who has a period and would like it to be lighter or stop altogether, hormonal birth control can help.
Folks with a uterus and ovaries who are having vaginal sex with someone with a penis and testicles could become pregnant. Even if a person is using testosterone, they won’t necessarily stop ovulating, and getting pregnant while using hormone therapy can pose a risk to the pregnancy. Birth control is a good idea for anyone who doesn’t want to get pregnant now (or ever). While methods such as the pill or an IUD are a great option for many, it’s important to remember that condoms and internal condoms are the only method to prevent pregnancy and STIs.
Several forms of birth control are great options for people who want a lower maintenance form of birth control or for whom privacy is important. Three options queer people may want to consider include:
- The shot is a progestin-only, injectable form of contraception that is administered every three months, which makes it a good choice for those who don’t want to worry about remembering their birth control. The shot, as well as all the other methods of birth control mentioned in this article, are available for free or at a low-cost at your nearest The Right Time health center.
- The implant is a tiny progestin-containing rod that gets inserted in the arm during a simple and quick in-office procedure. It can be felt but not seen, so it’s another great option if you prefer to keep your birth control private. The implant releases progestin slowly for up to four years to suppress ovulation which again makes it a great option for anyone who is looking for a lower maintenance method.
- IUDs are T-shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus during a quick office procedure. There are four types of hormonal IUDs, all of which contain progestin. Depending on the type, they can be used for 3-7 years. The non-hormonal IUD contains copper and can be used for up to 12 years. All can be removed at any time. Not as private as the implant or shot, a person’s partner may be able to feel the strings on an IUD depending on the type of sexual activity, but no one else will know it’s there.
Some transgender men choose the progestin-only pill since it prevents pregnancy and progestin has some masculinizing benefits such as increased hair growth. Others may prefer to use a hormonal IUD as most of the hormones stay inside the uterus—meaning little to no hormones get absorbed into the rest of the body.
Birth Control for People with a Penis and Testicles
For LGBTQ people with a penis and testicles who are having vaginal sex with someone with a uterus and ovaries, there is a risk of unintended pregnancy. Transgender women may take blockers to suppress testosterone and estrogen to cause feminization. Testosterone blockers decrease sperm production and quality and might affect the ability to have an erection and ejaculate, but it’s still important to use a reliable method of birth control to prevent unintended pregnancy.
No matter a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, everyone has sexual and reproductive health needs and deserves care that respects them as individuals. True reproductive care is any health care—physical, mental, or social— that allows people to make informed, safe, and responsible decisions about their reproductive systems.
Updated May 2022
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