Trans and queer young people already face a number of systemic hurdles to fair health care. As the federal government makes the devastating decision to strip transgender and LGBTQ+ people of their right to unbiased, comprehensive healthcare, we know that these hurdles will become particularly insurmountable in historically marginalized communities of color across the country.
GSA Network vehemently opposes a new “conscience rule” announced on Thursday by the federal government, which states that health care providers can deny care to transgender and LGBTQ+ people on religious or moral grounds.
The latest attack on transgender people by the federal government could negatively impact approximately 150,000 youth between the ages of 13 and 17, per a 2017 study. Many youth who identify as trans or gender nonconforming do not have the support of parents or guardians they would need to receive gender-affirming treatment. Besides having to find and access care on their own, safety and discrimination concerns stop them from seeking treatment. Oftentimes they simply cannot afford health services on their own. The discouraging lack of affirming medical practitioners who are supportive and well-trained to adequately serve the needs of transgender, gender nonconforming, and LGBTQ+ people will only be compounded by the new rule, and we know that young people will suffer.
Over the past two years, we have witnessed persistent attacks to not just limit access but erase transgender, gender nonconforming, and LGBTQ+ identities in schools, the public sector, and now the entire health care system. We will keep showing up for trans and queer youth, fighting alongside them as they publicly denounce these actions against them and demand basic rights to live and thrive.