With at least 15 states enacting or considering bans on gender-affirming care for transgender youth, the U.S. Air Force is offering medical, legal, and relocation assistance to servicemembers whose families have been harmed by such laws.
“Various laws and legislation are being proposed and passed in states across America that may affect LGBTQ Airmen, Guardians, and/or their LGBTQ dependents in different ways,” the Air Force wrote in a recent press release.
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The release stated that the Air Force is offering service members and their families screening, treatment and mental health support for any medical concerns.
Also, if they live in states where it’s illegal for trans youth to get medical care, “Commanders can work to get the service member to an assignment where their loved ones can receive the care they need,” Air Force Under Secretary Gina Ortiz Jones wrote.
“We are closely tracking state laws and legislation to ensure we prepare for and mitigate effects to our Airmen, Guardians and their families,” Jones added. “The health, care and resilience of our [Department of Air Force] personnel and their families is not just our top priority – it’s essential to our ability to accomplish the mission.”
The Air Force is the only branch of the U.S. military known to be offering these services to servicemembers and their queer and trans family members. As these laws proliferate, more families may need the assistance.
A report from the Williams Institute estimates that over 54,000 trans youth (ages 13 through 17) could lose access to gender-affirming medical care because of such transphobic legislation.
Such laws require teachers, social workers, clergy, and medical care workers to out trans kids, reporting them and their families to state child care authorities. After this, the laws threaten to take the kids out of parental care, removing them from any support they had and forcing them to de-transition within the foster care system.
The laws also go against the best practices of trans-related pediatrics outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association. The organizations find that gender-affirming medical care is medically necessary and reduces suicide and depression among trans youth.