Anti-transgender healthcare laws damage members of the transgender community

By Riley Dauber

Opinion Editor

Since 2021, 14 states attempted to pass anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that specifically targets transgender people.

According to the American College of Physicians, “Arkansas became the first state in the country to ban gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors” in 2021.

Tennessee, Arizona, and Alabama have passed similar laws, while Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia are also looking to pass bills in 2023 that will limit healthcare for members of the transgender community, according to USA Today.

Gender-affirming care helps young transgender people transition and understand their gender identity, with a focus on mental health and well-being.

Gender-affirming care decreases the suicide rate of transgender people.

According to USA Today, “Transgender people who wanted and received hormone therapy or surgical care had a substantially lower prevalence of suicidal ideations and attempts than those who wanted hormone therapy and surgical care and did not receive them.”

Gender-affirming care helps members of the transgender community, so it is disheartening and damaging to see many states working to take these healthcare practices away.

According to prior Elm coverage, “340 [LGBTQ+] candidates won their positions [in 2022].” With such a successful midterm election, one would think the community would see some improvement in terms of marriage protection and healthcare.

Even though the Respect for Marriage Act, which protects legal LGBTQ+ marriages in every state, was passed on Nov. 29, the lack of recognition when it comes to transgender laws and healthcare shows how often transgender people are overlooked.

The American College of Physicians states that proposed anti-LGBTQ bills have risen since 2018. The majority of the bills target the transgender community, with a total of 150 bills passed in 2022.

Members of the transgender community, specifically young people, need recognition and protection. These harmful bills would make it illegal for transgender people to receive medical help and mental health resources – all crucial parts of the transition process and, more generally, understanding one’s own gender identity. Transgender people deserve the right to gender-affirming care, especially because these facilities help improve one’s mental health.

The uptick in anti-transgender laws does not provide a very hopeful future.

“We have politicians, celebrities, and just folks in our communities who were given permission under Trump to kind of pick that scab and do and say harmful things without consequence. When you look at the last few years, [the LGBTQ+ community feels] like we’re under attack in a way that we have not for decades,” spokesperson for the National LGBTQ+ Task Force Cathy Renna said.

Thankfully, many Democrat-controlled states, including California, Illinois, and Minnesota, are implementing bills that will protect members of the transgender community and their access to healthcare resources and treatments, according to PBS.

The main focus, however, is the fact that many of the anti-transgender bills are looking to implement age minimums for gender-affirming care, which will directly impact transgender youth from receiving the help they need.

It is crucial that the government focuses on preventing these anti-transgender bills from passing, as well as protecting transgender people to keep them safe. Evidence from the Trevor Project and USA Today prove that gender-affirming care is a necessity for members of the transgender community.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Photo Caption: Anti-transgender healthcare legislation has risen in recent years, with many bills looking to limit or ban gender-affirming care altogether.

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