A quarter of trans people have had health care disrupted in the past year

A protester holds a transgender pride flag in downtown Sioux Falls as part of a rally on January 16, 2022 in support of transgender rights
A protester holds a transgender pride flag in downtown Sioux Falls as part of a rally on January 16, 2022 in support of transgender rights Photo: Morgan Matzen/USA TODAY NETWORK / USA TODAY NETWORK

For the past several years, Republican lawmakers all over the country have been attacking transgender people’s access to gender-affirming health care, and soon half of the states in the U.S. will ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

However, the legislation is also having a negative effect on trans adults since many of the laws also attack their access to health care. A new study from Data for Progress found that 24% of transgender adults have had their access to gender-affirming care disrupted in the past year, and one in five said that they didn’t go to a doctor or the hospital when they needed to in the past year because they were worried about discrimination or mistreatment.

Some states have taken away access to gender-affirming care for adults recently, like Florida, which increased the difficulty of accessing gender-affirming care for adults last year by passing a law that requires trans adults to be treated by a physician in person instead of by a nurse practitioner or via telehealth. Many states refuse to let their Medicaid program cover gender-affirming care, and South Carolina passed such a ban earlier this year. Furthermore, a proposed federal law to ban gender-affirming care for minors would also ban government programs like Medicaid from covering it in any state and ban medical schools from teaching about gender-affirming care.

The survey also found that 38% of trans adults are considering leaving their community or state as a result of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. A different survey by the U.S. Transgender Survey by the National Center for Transgender Equality, found that 47% of trans people are considering leaving their state over such legislation.

The Data for Progress survey found that 65% of transgender adults said that the quality of life has gotten worse for LGBTQ+ people in the past year; 34% of cisgender gay and bisexual adults said the same. The cis gay and bisexual people were more likely to say that things have stayed the same this past year, but around the same low percentage of both groups — 17% of trans people and 18% of cis gays and bisexuals — said that things had improved.

These responses might be related to another finding, which was that anti-LGBTQ+ policies have had a negative effect on the mental health of 79% of transgender adults and 50% of cisgender gay and bisexual adults. In another finding, 67% of transgender adults say that they have heard anti-LGBTQ+ remarks from a family member, friend, coworker, or neighbor in the past year; 40% of cis gay and bi people said the same.

The Data for Progress poll was conducted from March 8 to 14, 2024 and involved 873 LGBTQ+ respondents.

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