Proposed bans put nearly 17,000 transgender youth at risk of losing access to gender-affirming care

An estimated 16,750  transgender youth in the U.S. ages 13 and older are at risk of being denied gender-affirming medical care due to proposed state bans.

Eight U.S. states are currently considering bills to deny gender-affirming care to transgender youth, including Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and South Dakota. Most of the bills would criminally punish or professionally discipline medical providers who deliver gender-affirming care to minors. In Missouri and New Hampshire, parents could be reported to child welfare agencies for facilitating access to gender-affirming 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 health outcomes for transgender people, including youth,” said lead author Kerith J. Conron, the Blachford-Cooper Distinguished Scholar and Research Director at the Williams Institute. “Efforts to support transgender youth are associated with better mental health.”

Prior research from the Williams Institute found that the risk of past-year suicide attempts was lower among transgender people who wanted and received gender-affirming medical care.

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February 6, 2020

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