An estimated 58,000 transgender children are at risk of losing access to gender-affirming care due to existing or proposed legislation from US Republicans, according to a new study.
The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law has tracked the recent wave of bills in a new study. The research found 15 states are enacting or considering the legislation to block access to hormone therapy and puberty blockers.
The Institute estimates more than 54,000 transitioning youth aged 13 to 17 are at risk of losing access, even in cases where doctors, therapists and parents agree they need them.
That’s more than a third of the estimated 150,000 transgender youth in the US, the Institute said.
Moreover, conservative lawmakers in at least three states — Alabama, North Carolina and Oklahoma — are pushing legislation impacting about 4,000 18-to-20-year-olds.
Each of the bills carry severe penalties for healthcare providers.
This is despite all mainstream US medical organisations supporting gender-affirming care as best practice for transgender and non-binary people.
Six states impose penalties for parents who facilitate minors’ access to gender-affirming medical care.
Ten states allow private citizens to sue medical providers who violated the proposed laws.
Around half of the bills introduced also target insurance providers.
The bills block the providers from offering coverage for gender-affirming care by placing restrictions on the use of state funds or state facilities to provide the care.
Texas classifies gender-affirming care as ‘child abuse’
Last month, Texas’ Republican governor Greg Abbott issued an order classifying gender-affirming care as child abuse.
The order impacts as many as 13,800 transgender youth in the state, the Williams Institute claims.
A court later temporarily blocked that order. However Missouri conservatives are also planning something similar, putting an estimated 1,500 transgender youth there at risk.
The study’s lead author Kerith J. Conron said the vulnerable youth 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,” Conron said.
“Efforts that support transgender youth in living according to their gender identity are associated with better mental health.”
Conron said prior Williams Institute research found the risk of past-year suicide attempts was lower among transgender people who wanted and received gender-affirming medical care.
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