Many individuals have embraced gender-affirming care, which includes various medical treatments and procedures to align with their gender identity. However, the landscape for gender-affirming care has become increasingly controversial as several states have moved to restrict these options, particularly for minors.
Gender-Affirming Care Explained
Gender-affirming care is defined by the Human Rights Campaign as medically necessary treatment for transgender and non-binary individuals experiencing gender dysphoria, the stress caused by the misalignment between someone’s gender identity and sex assigned at birth.
Gender transition is the only known care option which alleviates gender dysphoria.
Conservatives often oppose gender-affirming care for minors, citing religious beliefs and concerns about potential child abuse.
Some express concerns about the lack of long-term data on such treatments and the need for thorough evaluations before proceeding with gender-affirming medical care.
State Laws Restricting Gender-Affirming Care
Several U.S. states have recently passed laws restricting gender-affirming care for minors.
Here’s a look at what do and who’s affected by them.
In March, Arkansas passed a law that holds healthcare providers liable if they perform gender transition procedures on minors.
This law essentially makes it difficult for providers to obtain malpractice insurance, effectively restricting gender-affirming care.
Florida made rules prohibiting various gender-affirming treatments for minors, including sex reassignment surgeries and puberty blockers.
Transgender adults are also required to obtain written consent for these procedures.
Georgia enacted Senate Bill 140, which bans certain surgical procedures for treating gender dysphoria in minors in hospitals and licensed healthcare facilities. However, some exceptions are allowed, including treatments deemed medically necessary.
Idaho criminalized providing gender-affirming care to minors, making it a felony to offer hormones, puberty blockers, or other gender-affirming medical care to minors.
Indiana passed a bill banning all gender-affirming care for minors, but parts of the law were blocked by a federal judge.
Iowa’s law prohibits healthcare professionals from performing specific medical practices on minors to alter their gender appearance or perception, including hormone therapies and surgical procedures.
Kentucky became the first state led by a Democrat to approve a ban on gender-affirming medical care for minors in 2023.
Louisiana passed a law banning gender-affirming care for minors, covering hormone therapies, puberty blockers, and gender-reassignment surgeries.
Mississippi’s law bans gender transition procedures on minors and prohibits public funds or tax deductions for such procedures.
Missouri restricted gender-affirming healthcare for minors and some adults, preventing Medicaid from covering these treatments and stopping providers from prescribing puberty blockers or cross-sex hormones to minors.
Montana’s law covers surgical procedures and medications like puberty blockers and testosterone, allowing physicians who perform banned procedures to be sued for 25 years following the treatment.
Nebraska prohibited gender-affirming medical care for minors under the age of 19, including surgical procedures and prescribed drugs related to gender alteration.
North Carolina banned gender-affirming care for minors, covering both transition surgeries and puberty-blocking drugs or cross-sex hormones.
North Dakota criminalized providing gender-affirming medical care to minors, making it a felony to perform sex reassignment surgery on a minor.
Oklahoma banned gender-affirming care for minors, with physicians facing felony charges if they knowingly provide such treatment.
South Dakota prohibited healthcare professionals from administering gender-affirming procedures to minors, requiring revocation of licenses for violators.
Tennessee’s law bans medical procedures aimed at enabling minors to identify with a gender inconsistent with their sex or treating discomfort or distress from a discordance between sex and identity.
Texas passed a law banning gender-affirming care for minors, with exceptions similar to those in other states.
Utah restricted health providers from performing certain gender-affirming procedures on minors and hormonal treatment on those diagnosed with gender dysphoria before July 1, 2023.
West Virginia prohibited minors from being prescribed hormone therapy, puberty blockers, or gender-affirming surgery, with exceptions for medically necessary treatments.
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