90% of trans youth live in states that propose limiting their rights

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Jersey City, NJ Transgender March on February 3 2017. Photo by B. Nick.
Jersey City, NJ Transgender March on February 3 2017. Photo by B. Nick.

A recent report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law sheds light on the challenges facing transgender youth across the United States. The report reveals that a staggering 93 percent of transgender youth aged 13 to 17 — approximately 280,300 youth — reside in states where laws have been proposed or passed limiting their rights in various aspects of life, including healthcare access, sports participation, and the use of gender-affirming pronouns.

In regions such as the South and Midwest, a significant percentage of transgender youth live in states where these restrictive laws have already been enacted. For instance, about 85 percent of transgender youth in the South and 40 percent in the Midwest are impacted by such legislation.

While an estimated 300,100 youth aged 13 to 17 identify as transgender in the United States, nearly half of them reside in states (and Washington, D.C.) that have laws protecting access to gender-affirming care and prohibiting conversion therapy.

All transgender youth in the Northeast reside in states with either gender-affirming care shield laws or conversion therapy bans, while almost all youth in the West — 97 percent — benefit from similar protective measures.

Lead author Elana Redfield, federal policy director at the Williams Institute, emphasizes the growing divide in rights and protections for transgender youth and their families, as evidenced by the introduction of hundreds of bills impacting transgender youth in state legislatures for the second consecutive year.

The report outlines key findings regarding restrictive legislation, including bans on gender-affirming care, sports participation, school bathroom access, and pronoun use. These restrictions exacerbate the stress experienced by transgender youth and their families, underscoring the importance of efforts to support their well-being.