At least 13 states have outlawed best-practice medical care for transgender and nonbinary youth already this year
April 20, 2023 — The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people, condemned the signage of HB 1254 into law by North Dakota’s governor. The legislation bans doctors from providing best-practice medical care to transgender and nonbinary youth.
“This is dangerous and unnecessary government overreach. Personal medical decisions ought to be made between patients, their doctors, and their parents – not by politicians,” said Casey Pick (she/her pronouns), Director of Law and Policy at The Trevor Project. “This legislation flies in the face of best-practice standards of care, and contradicts every major medical and mental health association in the country. This news is heartbreaking, and trans and nonbinary young people in North Dakota deserve so much better. The Trevor Project will continue working alongside our partners and allies to fight back against legislation like this – and we won’t stop until all young people have the same opportunity to feel safe, seen, and supported for who they are.”
The Trevor Project’s 2022 U.S. National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health found that more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the past year, and nearly 1 in 5 made an attempt. The Trevor Project’s data has also 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.