The bill would prohibit doctors from providing best-practice medical care to transgender and nonbinary youth
February 8, 2023 — The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people, condemned the passage of SB99 by the Senate, which would ban doctors from providing best-practice medical care to transgender and nonbinary youth.
“This bill would strip transgender youth and their families of their ability to access a well established and highly effective course of medical care, and place that decision-making into the hands of politicians. This blanket ban contradicts the professional guidance of every major medical and mental health association in the country,” said Kasey Suffredini (he/him pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs at The Trevor Project. “Research shows that access to transgender medical care is associated with lowering suicide risk for trans youth – a group that is already placed at significantly higher risk compared to their peers. We urge Montana lawmakers to expand access to this potentially life-saving care, not restrict it further.
The Trevor Project’s 2022 U.S. National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health by State found that 55% of LGBTQ youth in Montana seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 13% 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.