The rule would prohibit doctors from providing best-practice medical care to transgender and nonbinary youth
February 10, 2023 — The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ young people, opposes the Florida Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine’s decision to uphold a proposed rule that bans the provision of best-practice medical care to transgender and nonbinary youth, even for research purposes.
“Transgender medical care is well-established, best-practice treatment that can allow transgender young people to live happy, healthy lives. This politically motivated blanket ban would make Florida’s standards of care contradict the guidance of the World Health Organization, World Professional Association for Transgender Health, and every major medical and mental health association in the U.S.,” said Jonah DeChants (he/him pronouns), Research Scientist at The Trevor Project. “The Trevor Project conducted the first large-scale study of transgender youth who received gender-affirming hormone therapy, and found that receiving this care was associated with nearly 40% lower odds of recent depression and of a past-year suicide attempt among minors. The Florida Board of Medicine should be investing in additional research and breaking down existing barriers to affirming medical and mental health care across the state, not eliminating one of the best choices trans youth and their families can make to reduce gender dysphoria and promote well-being.”
The Trevor Project’s 2022 U.S. National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health by State found that 54% of transgender and nonbinary youth in Florida seriously considered suicide in the past year, and 20% 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.