Since the beginning of 2023, 498 anti-transgender bills have been introduced across the United States (as of 4/21/23). Nearly 50 of these bills have passed and 359 remain active in state legislatures.
While the majority of these bills have been targeted toward trans and nonbinary youth, the attorney general of Missouri took executive action on April 13, 2023 to ban most transgender adults in the state from receiving gender affirming care, including all autistic adults, and those with anxiety and depression. It calls for autism to be “cured” and anxiety and depression to be “resolved” before gender affirming healthcare can be received. Not only is this ableist but also it is impossible to fulfill. Autistic people do not need a cure; they need a society that empowers them to thrive while being themselves, which includes affirming their gender identities. Not receiving gender affirming care results in heightened anxiety and depression. This ableist and transphobic executive action and bills like it create a Catch-22 for autistic trans people and those experiencing the most common mental health conditions.
The values of self-determination, pride, and dignity are central to PYD’s mission. PYD’s goal is to create a world where young people with disabilities, all young people with disabilities, will be able to live with dignity and pride in who they are, and to lead self-determined lives filled with purpose. Partners for Youth with Disabilities is dedicated to protecting trans and nonbinary youth in our programs and providing a space and community in which they can thrive and pursue happiness.
Partners for Youth with Disabilities stands with the transgender community and especially trans people with disabilities and strongly condemns any efforts to deprive transgender people of gender affirming healthcare and legal recognition in their gender. Trans rights are human rights. Trans women are women; trans men are men; and nonbinary people are nonbinary. The fact that gender affirming care and recognition saves lives is indisputable.
Youth in Massachusetts who need gender affirming care and community resources can contact BAGLY, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Transgender Emergency Fund. Youth and adults outside across the country can contact the National Center for Transgender Equality, Plume, GLAAD, and the Transgender Law Center, among others. If you or a trans person you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, we encourage you to contact The Trevor Project (for youth) and the Trans Lifeline.