Health Care for Transgender Adults Remains Legal, but States Are Quietly Trying to Limit Access - Them
The growing rhetoric fueling attacks on those hospitals, coupled with pressure on teachers governed by laws restricting school discussion on gender and sexuality, makes one California-based teacher nervous about coming out to her peers as a transfeminine person.
The 36-year-old special education teacher, who asked to be anonymous due to not being out to most people in her life, knows that she probably lives in one of the best states to start her gender transition. She doesn’t feel threatened about her ability to access care. But even within her “liberal bubble” in the Bay Area, she’s heard parents at her school recycle the same anti-trans rhetoric she’s heard elsewhere — that trans people are “groomers.”
“I can see in my mind someone just turning around, someone who’s known me and worked for me for a while, just calling me a ‘groomer’ right there on the spot,” she said. “To have such hostile rhetoric around something that’s changed my life in nothing but positive ways, it’s pretty terrifying.”
Logan Casey, senior policy researcher and adviser for the Movement Advancement Project, pointed out that when states aren’t able to pass anti-trans bills, state actors find other paths to accomplish that goal. In Texas, that took the form of the state’s attorney general and governor calling for investigations into the parents of trans children for alleged abuse. In Florida, pursuing Medicaid regulations and petitioning the board of medicine are other routes taken that require no legislation, he said.
“It’s about trans people more broadly, and even in states where they have focused on youth, that’s been basically like a foot in the door to attack and restrict health care for all trans people of all ages,” he said.
Within the last year, a lot of patients have told Quinn Jackson, a trans primary care doctor who practices in Kansas City, Kansas, that they are worried about losing their access to gender-affirming care. He sees patients from both Kansas and Missouri.
“There is a pervasive, and I believe legitimate, fear in the trans community that that attack on our rights and our ability to access care isn’t going to stop with minors. That, with time, they will probably seek to reduce access to care at higher ages and eventually for everyone,” Jackson said.
When patients share that fear with him, Jackson tries to be reassuring. He says that he and the clinic will remain unless they are forced to shutter — and that he can help facilitate referrals to other clinics if patients feel like moving is the best option.
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