Proposed bans will put over 45,000 transgender youth at risk

Jersey City Transgender March on Feb of 2017. File photo

Anti-trans legislation in 21 states may be enacted this year

An estimated 45,100 transgender youth ages 13 and older in the U.S. are at risk of being denied gender-affirming medical care due to proposed and enacted state bans, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.

During this years legislative session, lawmakers in 21 states introduced bills to deny gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth. Arkansas has passed legislation denying gender-affirming care for youth. In Arkansas it impacts an estimated 1,450 transgender youth already. Nine other states are considering these bills, including Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

Most of these bills would penalize medical providers for delivering gender-affirming care to minors. A few states would extend penalties to parents who seek gender-affirming medical care for their children.

Gender-affirming medical care includes the use of hormones to delay puberty and to promote physical development that is consistent with a child’s gender identity. It is recommended for transgender youth by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Endocrine Society.

“A growing body of research shows that gender-affirming care improves mental health and overall well-being of transgender people, including youth,” said Kerith J. Conron, the Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director at the Williams Institute. “Efforts that support transgender youth in living according to their gender identity are associated with better mental health.”

Prior research from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that the risk of past-year suicide attempts was lower among transgender people who wanted and received gender-affirming medical care. The full report is available from the Williams Institute.