More than 58,000 trans youth at risk of losing access to gender-affirming care: study
Existing or proposed legislation in 15 states currently targets access to gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
More than 58,000 transgender minors are at risk of losing access to gender-affirming care as state legislatures across the country work to restrict access to treatments like puberty blockers, hormone therapies and gender-affirming surgeries for youth under the age of 18, new research has found.
Existing or proposed legislation in 15 states currently targets access to gender-affirming care for transgender youth, according to a Williams Institute analysis, with the potential to affect more than a third of the nation’s 150,000 transgender 13- to 17-year-olds.
Three proposed bills also target access to gender-affirming care for transgender adults ages 18 to 20, putting 4,000 transgender people in that age group in jeopardy of losing access to gender-affirming care, according to the Williams Institute.
Roughly half of the bills introduced would also prevent insurance providers from offering coverage for gender-affirming care by placing restrictions on the use of state funds or state facilities to provide such care. Other bills would exclude gender-affirming care as a tax-deductible expense.
Each of the bills carry severe penalties for health care providers and, in some cases, family members, who provide transgender and nonbinary minors with gender-affirming care.
Gender-affirming care, especially for minors, has been backed by the nation’s largest medical groups, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, as best practice for transgender and nonbinary individuals.
Research suggests that receiving gender-affirming care like hormone therapy has a positive impact on the well-being of trans and nonbinary young people, who already face greater risk of depression, self-harm and suicide.
“A growing body of research shows that gender-affirming care improves mental health and overall well-being of transgender people, including youth,” Kerith J. Conron, the Williams Institute report’s lead author, said Monday in a statement. “Efforts that support transgender youth in living according to their gender identity are associated with better mental health.”
Some studies have found that the very introduction of anti-trans and anti-nonbinary legislation can impact LGBTQ+ youth, and two-thirds of LGBTQ+ 13- to 24-year-olds in a January report by The Trevor Project said their mental health had deteriorated because of recent state-led efforts to restrict the rights of transgender and nonbinary people.