Transgender Youth and Access to Healthcare

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Despite recent evidence showing that debates regarding the restriction of transgender persons’ rights have negatively impacted LGBTQ+ youth mental health[1] and that physicians generally oppose legislation that interferes in or criminalizes patient care,[2] state legislatures across the United States have introduced and, in some cases, even passed bills that deny transgender youth access to best-practice medical care by criminalizing physicians for providing gender-affirming care. While not all of the proposed bills have passed[3], these anti-transgender politicians have continued their assault on the rights of transgender persons.[4]

As of April 7, 2022, Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama signed SB184 and HB322, which makes it a felony to provide gender-affirming medical treatment to transgender youth under the age of nine, a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.[5] This bill adds to the anti-transgender laws already enacted by Arkansas and Tennessee. On April 8, 2021, Tennessee’s General Assembly adopted and passed Senate Bill 126, which “prohibits a healthcare prescriber from prescribing a course of treatment that involves hormone treatment for gender dysphoric or gender incongruent prepubertal minors.

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