Trans Children Were the Beginning. The GOP Is Coming for Adults Now.

The politicians who’ve repeatedly introduced anti-trans bills under the guise of “protecting children” are routinely going after adults now.
People protest during the 'All In For Equality Advocacy Day' demonstration in front of the Texas State Capitol on March 20, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

A newly-proposed healthcare ban in Florida could effectively ban gender-affirming care for people of all ages, in yet another indication that GOP lawmakers are not only targeting trans youth, but trans adults too. 

Florida HB1421 would prohibit insurance providers, including private insurers, from covering gender-affirming care, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket. “A health insurance policy may not provide coverage for gender clinical interventions,” the bill states. Florida previously introduced a bill that will force businesses that pay for gender-affirming care to also pay for detransitions, in a bid to further restrict access to life-saving healthcare for transgender people by disincentivizing employers from covering care in the first place.


And according to experts, HB1421 is worded so vaguely that it could make it difficult for trans adults to access other forms of healthcare as well. 

“It would ban health insurance coverage for birth control, HRT for menopause, treatments for breast cancer, including mastectomies, treatments for prostate cancer, and any treatment that involves primary or secondary sex characteristics,” said attorney Alejandra Caraballo, an instructor at Harvard Law Cyberlaw Clinic.

The bill, which also bans gender-affirming care for trans youth, echoes a new law in South Dakota: Both include a clause that effectively forces youth to detransition before the year is up, by forcing healthcare professionals to “gradually discontinue” their treatments, including puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy.

HB1421 is not the first bill introduced in the country that would limit access to life-saving, critical care for trans adults. In fact, the same politicians who’ve repeatedly introduced anti-trans bills under the guise of “protecting children” are routinely going after adults now. Tennessee is also trying to block insurance providers from covering gender-affirming care, while other states are explicitly trying to ban care for some adults altogether. Earlier this year Oklahoma became the first state to propose a gender-affirming care ban for people under 26, and Kansas is proposing a trans healthcare ban for people under 21. South Carolina is also attempting to ban people under 21 from accessing gender-affirming care, and would prohibit the use of public funds to cover treatment.


Earlier this month, Texas introduced its own bill that could criminalize doctors who provide gender-affirming care for people under 26. The same bill prohibits insurance companies from covering gender-affirming care for the same age group.

“Attacks on transgender people are not about ‘protecting children,’ but rather about ‘eradicating transgenderism’ as Michael Knowles put it in his recent infamous CPAC speech,” transgender writer and activist Erin Reed wrote in her newsletter this week. “I expect these kinds of bills targeting adult care to become increasingly common over the next two years.”

GOP lawmakers across the country have been largely fixated on prohibiting trans healthcare for youth, and at least 10 states have already passed such bans. This year alone has seen nearly 500 anti-trans bills introduced across the country—a record-breaking number. Proposed bills range from gender-affirming care bans and bills that bar trans people from using bathrooms that correspond to their gender, to drag bans and bans on name and pronoun changes on government-issued documents. The situation is becoming so tenuous that some people are referring to the assault on trans rights as a genocide. 

“They are trying to bring about conditions that will result in the mass loss of life and inability to participate in public life among transgender people,” Reed told VICE News last year. 

Studies show that gender-affirming care isn’t harmful; it’s life-saving. Trans people are more likely to experience mental health struggles, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and thoughts of suicide, than cisgender people. Nearly half of all LGBTQ youth have seriously considered suicide.

 But, experts say, some of these risks can be mitigated with gender-affirming care, which includes puberty blockers and other therapies. Most trans adults say that transitioning helped them feel more satisfied, according to a new Washington Post and KFF poll. These interventions, endorsed by several major national medical associations, are safe and effective, and are correlated with better mental health outcomes for trans people.

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