Americans across the country are fleeing their homes in response to harsh legislation restricting health care for transgender individuals. Missouri, Florida, and Texas, among other states, have implemented laws limiting gender-affirming health care for transgender youth. Additionally, these states prevent Medicaid from covering crucial aspects of such care for patients of all ages.
In a survey, it was found that over a quarter of transgender adults have relocated to seek more acceptance. Now, with further restrictions on health care and the potential for more in the future, the desire to move has intensified.
Individuals are gravitating towards states that have enacted laws supporting trans care, transforming them into welcoming havens. For instance, California passed legislation last fall to safeguard individuals receiving or providing gender-affirming care from prosecution. Consequently, California is experiencing an influx of people seeking to relocate to ensure continuity of care.
Nevertheless, this surge of patients poses challenges, as the existing system cannot handle the potential volume of refugees. Scott Nass, a family physician, and expert on transgender care based in California, highlights the strain on resources.
Florida’s legislative attack on trans people and their health care has convinced Arlo Dennis, a resident of Orlando, to uproot their family and move to Maryland. The cessation of hormone replacement therapy under Florida’s Medicaid program has negatively impacted their mental and physical health.
In Texas, the Tillison family, who have a transgender daughter, have decided to leave due to anti-trans policies. The Texas Legislature passed a law limiting gender-affirming health care for youth under 18, leading the family to relocate to Washington state.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s attempted limitations on transition-related surgeries and hormone therapy prompted Hal Dempsey and their partners to leave Springfield, Missouri. They initiated a GoFundMe campaign to fund their move to Illinois, where state-regulated insurance plans are required to cover gender-affirming health care at no additional cost.
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Gwendolyn Schwarz, a recent graduate from Missouri State University, planned to stay in Springfield but changed her mind due to the uncertainty caused by Bailey’s rule. She intends to move to Nevada, where Medicaid covers gender-affirming treatment.
Dempsey and their partners settled in Moline, Illinois, after quitting their jobs to relocate. With the support of crowdfunding, they successfully secured an apartment and received necessary medical care at an LGBTQ+-focused clinic.
The plight of these individuals highlights the impact of restrictive legislation on the lives of transgender Americans, forcing them to uproot and search for more inclusive communities where their healthcare needs can be met.