New HRC Data Reveals Over Half of Transgender Youth Ages 13-17 Could Soon Face Barriers to Life-Saving, Medically Necessary Gender Affirming Care

by Cullen Peele

Amidst Unprecedented Legislative Assault on the Trans Community, New Map From HRC Illuminates Scale and Scope of Dangerous Attacks on Gender Affirming Care

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released data indicating that more than half (50.4%) of transgender youth (ages 13-17) have lost or are at risk of losing access to age appropriate, medically necessary gender-affirming care in their state - care which is, in many cases, life-saving. The figure was pulled from the more than 300,000 transgender youth aged 13-17 in the U.S., as reported by the Williams Institute. This alarming finding, as bans on gender affirming care are on the verge of going into effect in more than 10 states, is highlighted in a newly launched map developed by HRC that tracks legislative and administrative attacks on gender affirming care. Gender affirming care, when made in consultation between a provider, their patient, and the patient's parents, is backed by decades of research and is supported by every major medical association, representing over 1.3 million doctors nationwide.

However, amid growing disinformation peddled by extremists and national anti-LGBTQ+ organizations, lawmakers in statehouses across the country continue to introduce and pass legislation that severely restricts or prohibits gender affirming care for transgender youth. Additionally, Florida and Texas have prohibited this care through administrative action. Politicians invoke counterfactual concerns about the best interests of transgender youth, but some states, such as Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas are even considering legislation that would ban care for transgender people up to 26 years of age. Indeed, the national anti-LGBTQ+ groups pushing for these bills have admitted that their goal is to ban gender affirming care for all transgender people.

To date:

  • Seven states have enacted laws banning gender affirming care (AL, AZ, AR, MS, SD, TN, UT)

  • Four states have passed legislation banning gender affirming care that is currently awaiting signature or veto from their governor (IA, GA, KY, WV)

  • Six states have advanced gender affirming care ban legislation through one chamber (ID, IN, KS, MT, ND, and OK)

  • In addition, Florida’s Board of Medicine forbade gender affirming care last year via administrative action, which took effect March 16, 2023, and the Governor of Texas last year directed the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate the provision or support of gender affirming care by parents, doctors, or others, as child abuse.

“LGBTQ+ people are living in a state of emergency. Today’s findings illustrate how the ongoing assault against transgender people is taking hold across the country and underscore how dire the situation is growing for our community by the day. These dangerous and discriminatory policies advocated by power-hungry politicians are void of any credible purpose. These politicians are spreading propaganda and creating more stigma, discrimination, and violence against transgender people just to rile up extreme members of their base. We must stop them. Now more than ever, we must fight back against extremism and hold anti-LGBTQ+ politicians accountable for bullying children and terrorizing our families."

Jay Brown, HRC Senior Vice President, Programs, Research & Training

Get the facts about gender-affirming care:

  • Every credible medical organization – representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States – calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people.
    • “Transition-related” or “gender-affirming” care looks different for every transgender and non-binary person.

    • Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.

  • Gender transition is a personal process that can include changing clothes, names, and hairstyles to fit a person’s gender identity.
    • Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions is their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor.

    • Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time that are in the best interest of the child.

    • In most young children, this care can be entirely social. This means:
      • New name

      • New hairstyle

      • New clothing

      • None of this care is irreversible.

  • Being transgender is not new.
    • Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new – but that’s because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years.

    • But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass.

    • And very few transgender people change their mind.

  • ALL gender-affirming care is:
    • Age-appropriate

    • Medically necessary

    • Supported by all major medical organizations

    • Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents

  • And in many cases, this care is lifesaving!
    • A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this — transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide.

The majority of the discriminatory bills introduced in 2023 – more than 180 bills – target the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children receiving the brunt of discriminatory legislation. Anti-transgender legislation is taking several forms, including more than 35 bills aimed to prevent transgender youth from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity and more than 100 bills to prevent transgender and non-binary youth from receiving life-saving, medically-necessary gender-affirming healthcare.

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