Idaho is the tenth state to outlaw best-practice medical care for transgender and nonbinary youth so far this year, with more expected soon
April 4, 2023 — The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people, condemned the signage of SB 99 into law by Idaho’s governor. The legislation aims to ban doctors from providing best-practice medical care to transgender and nonbinary youth.
“This bill goes against decades of expert guidance on best-practice transgender medical care and allows the government to override personal medical decisions made between patients, their doctors, and their parents,” said Kasey Suffredini (he/him pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “The Trevor Project’s research found that 60% of trans and nonbinary youth in Idaho seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 27% made an attempt. Trans youth are not inherently prone to suicide risk, but rather placed at heightened risk because of how they are mistreated in society. Lawmakers should be prioritizing efforts to protect the health and well-being of Idaho’s young people – not passing laws to isolate trans and nonbinary youth further. We will continue fighting back against these dangerous efforts, along with our partners and allies on the ground. For young people in Idaho – or anywhere else – who may be feeling scared or overwhelmed by this news, The Trevor Project has your back. Our counselors are here for you 24/7.”
The Trevor Project’s 2022 U.S. National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health by State found that 60% of transgender and nonbinary youth in Idaho seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 27% made an attempt. At a national level, The Trevor Project’s data has found that 71% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported that they have experienced discrimination based on their gender identity, and those who have reported significantly higher rates of attempting suicide in the past year compared to those who have not.
However, research has also consistently found that transgender medical care, is associated with positive mental health outcomes including showing promise for reducing suicide risk. A 2021 peer-reviewed study by The Trevor Project, the first large-scale study of more than 9,000 youth who received gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT), found that GAHT was significantly related to lower rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts among transgender and nonbinary youth. Specifically for young people under age 18, receiving GAHT was associated with nearly 40% lower odds of recent depression and of a past-year suicide attempt.
According to The Trevor Project’s new polling, 86% of transgender and nonbinary youth say recent debates about state laws restricting the rights of transgender people have negatively impacted their mental health. When asked about new policies that will ban doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender and nonbinary youth, 74% of transgender and nonbinary youth said it made them feel angry, 59% felt stressed, 56% felt sad, 48% felt hopeless, 47% felt scared, 46% felt helpless, and 45% felt nervous.
Further, a 2022 poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of The Trevor Project found that a majority of adults agree that transgender minors should have access to gender-affirming hormone therapy (55%) and puberty blockers (52%) if it’s recommended by their doctor and supported by their parents. Only 1 in 3 adults polled said lawmakers should have the ability to outlaw gender-affirming medical care for minors even if such a ban is against the recommendation of doctors and major medical associations.
If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678678.