The KU School of Social Welfare and the Center for LGBTQ+ Research and Advocacy are in solidarity with transgender and gender diverse children, adolescents, and adults. As social workers and researchers engaged in scholarship to reduce stigma and improve well-being for transgender, non-binary, and gender diverse people, we affirm the importance of gender affirming medical and mental health care across the life course. Transgender and gender diverse youth face onslaughts of stigma, violence, and discrimination in their families, schools, communities, and society, resulting in increased risk of depression and suicide, among other mental, physical, and behavioral health concerns. Access to gender affirming medical and mental health care is associated with improved self-image and better mental health. The oppressions that transgender and gender diverse youth face make access to affirming healthcare all the more critical.
In Kansas, transgender youth report experiencing isolation, stigma, and victimization, as well as a lack of affirming healthcare options. Even when youth receive support from their parents in accessing care, finding medical and mental health providers who are trans-affirming is challenging at best. We support increased access to affirming medical and mental health care for transgender and gender diverse children, adolescents, and adults and condemn efforts to restrict or prohibit medical professionals from providing evidence-based and affirming care.