GOP Attacks Threaten Gender-Affirming Care for a Third of Trans Youth in the US

More than one-third of the estimated 150,000 transgender youth and young adults in the United States are at risk of being denied gender-affirming health care as politicians push a deluge of anti-LGBTQ bills through multiple state legislatures, and authorities in Texas threaten to tear apart families over transphobic allegations of “child abuse.”

Fiveteen states have made it difficult for gender-affirming care to be available in their state, or are considering making laws that would do so. This puts an estimated 54,000 transgender teenagers ages 13-17 at high risk of losing access health care that has been proven to be essential. improving mental health and saving livesAccording to a new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, this number is approximately 4,000. Another 4,000 young adults could lose access to care under plans in Alabama, North Carolina, and Oklahoma that target those between 18 and 20 years old.

This report comes as Republican politicians across America attack the rights LGBTQ youth and their families to try to grab media attention and rally their base for the 2022 and 2024 elections. More than 100 bills attacking trans and gender-nonconforming people have been introduced in state legislatures since 2020, and 2021 was the “worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in recent history,” according to civil and human rights groups. The bills currently being considered in 15 states would criminalize and even criminalize parents and other medical professionals in cases involving trans youth.

Right-wing lawmakers in the country have tried to ban trans athletes playing in school sports. Now they want to criminalize or interrupt health decisions that advocates say should remain with youth, parents and counselors. All major health organizations, includingThe American Academy of Pediatricians and the American Medical Association. opposeLegislation to ban gender-affirming care for adolescents

While gender-affirming medical care may include the use of hormones to delay puberty and to promote physical development that is consistent with a child’s identity — which is recommended by the APA for trans youth when they reach an appropriate age but exploited by the right to spark outrage — these treatments are only one part of a much broader ModelCare for transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming individuals

Many hospitals only offer hormone treatment to their patients. ages 16 and olderPatients may also choose to receive other services. The gender-affirming care model includes counseling and psychological evaluations, as well as support during and after social and legal transitions, with an emphasis on affirming a patient’s identity in health care settings. For example, some patients receive speech therapy and laser hair removal. Research has shownThe suicide rate was lower among transgender individuals who received gender-affirming care.

“Gender-affirming care is a model with a range of treatments, not just hormones or surgery, which is getting lost in the national conversation about these bills,” said Victoria Kirby York, deputy executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, an LGBTQ+ and racial justice group, in an email. “For instance, gender-affirming care treatment from a mental health therapist could include the recommendation of social transition for transgender youth (name, clothing, pronouns shift, use of a binder, etc).”

While anti-trans bills often target hormone treatments for transgender teens, advocates claim the legislation threatens an entire medical system that has become the standard treatment for trans people. Right-wing politicians make false claims that minors undergo gender-reassignment surgery. However, these procedures are not common. only availableTo adults.

Arkansas lawmakers passed a law banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors and minors last year. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Governor Greg Abbott were both elected. Both Republicans Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton are from Texas. widely condemned for declaring gender-affirming care “child abuse” and ordering the state’s child protective services to investigate parents of trans kids. The policy is terrorizing familiesYouthfulness and putting youth at riskThey were forced to move out of their homes and forced to live in a shelter. broken foster caresystem and caused to suffer severe emotional harm. Biden administration health officials call Abbott’s order “discriminatory and unconscionable” and vowed to extend federal protections to Texas families.

Arkansas and Texas are facing lawsuits for their anti-translation efforts. currently blockedCourts, at least temporarily. However, an anti-trans bill introduced in Missouri would rip a page from Abbott’s playbook and enshrine gender-affirming care as “child abuse” in state law. Anti-trans bills in 10 states would allow private citizens to file civil lawsuits against medical providers who violate proposed bans on gender-affirming care for youth, a tactic that mirrors the Texas “bounty hunter” anti-abortion law that has devastatedReproductive health services are available in the state.

According to the Williams Institute: The anti-trans bills in 15 states carry severe penalties for both health care providers and family members. The bills in each of these states would either criminalize gender-affirming care providers or subject them to discipline by state licensing board. There are thousands upon thousands of frontline physicians already opposeAny legislation that criminalizes transgender and gender-nonconforming patient care.

Six states also have bills that would penalize parents who provide gender-affirming care to their children. The report continues:

The bill would limit access to gender affirming care for transgender teens by banning certain insurance providers from offering coverage, or putting restrictions on the use state funds or facilities to provide this care. Seven states have bills that would ban certain insurance plans from covering gender-affirming care. Eight states have bills that would prohibit the state from funding gender-affirming services. They also prohibit the state from distributing funds to anyone who provides such care to minors, despite the purpose of the funding. Five states have bills that would prohibit gender affirming care in government-owned or managed facilities and individual providers working for government entities. Four states would ban gender-affirming health care expenses from the tax-deductible tax.

The right’s onslaught of anti-trans policies is already taking a heavy toll on the mental healthof trans youth and their families research showsAdults with negative mental health outcomes are more likely to hear anti-trans messages from the media. Advocates and researchers believe trans and other LGBTQ youth are being supported and protected. particularly vulnerablediscrimination, bullying from their peers, especially youth of color, and negative media messaging.