Utah Joins Growing Number of States Denying Life-Saving, Gender Affirming Care to Transgender Youth
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FEBRUARY 1, NEW YORK, NY
Healthcare is a right. The freedom to live and be one’s true authentic self is a right. Yet, numerous states across the country have mounted campaigns of hate, targeting transgender individuals in a systematic push to deny them appropriate healthcare. Utah is now the latest state to ban transgender youth’s access to gender affirming healthcare. Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) remains dismayed by these actions that strips LGBTQIA+ youth of their rights to receive fair and equal access to lifesaving medical care, including gender affirming care. We stand in support of the transgender youth of Utah and all those affected by this damaging and unjust law.
The State of Utah is sending a dangerous message to transgender adolescents, who are already struggling with mental health issues from depression to suicidal thoughts and behavior. A study just released by The Trevor Project this month reported that 9 out of 10 LGBTQ+ youth are dissatisfied with their bodies, with trans and nonbinary youth showing higher rates compared to cisgender youth. This new law signed by Governor Spencer Cox will not only compound the growing mental health crisis but will put the lives of queer youth residing in Utah at risk.
States that have successfully pushed through these disturbing and harmful bills into law are setting a dangerous precedent. Mississippi is very close to pushing similar legislation into law after advancing in the state senate today. If signed into law, Mississippi will be the second state this year to ban gender-affirming care to trans youth. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 315 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in 2022 across the country. While only 10% were signed into law, this still impacts a large population of our community, particularly queer and trans youth.
HMI will continue to respond to the overwhelming need of queer and trans young people by fostering a community of wellness that centers and celebrates their identities. Yet more needs to be done in terms of educating lawmakers to understand how their actions can be detrimental and, in some cases, fatal.
# # #
For interviews, contact:
HMI Chief Strategy Officer
About Hetrick-Martin Institute
Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI) is proud to be the nation’s oldest and largest organization helping gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+) youth between the ages of 13 and 24 to reach their full potential. Through a comprehensive package of direct services and referrals, the organization fosters healthy youth development. HMI’s staff promotes excellence in the delivery of youth services and uses its expertise to create innovative programs that other organizations may use as models. HMI serves a diverse community, the vast majority of whom identify as Black or people of color. The youth organization is dedicated to building its approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels, throughout its operations and functions.