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Proposed bans put over 45,000 transgender youth at risk of losing access to gender-affirming care

Lawmakers in 21 states introduced bills to deny gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth

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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.

This 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, which impacts an estimated 1,450 transgender youth in the state. Nine other states are still 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 lead author 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 found that the risk of past-year suicide attempts was lower among transgender people who wanted and received gender-affirming medical care.

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance.

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may 2021

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