Canada, citing the risk of potential dangers, is advising LGBTQ travelers planning trips to the United States to check how they might be affected by recently passed laws in some states, Ottawa said Tuesday.
Anti-LGBTQ demonstrations in the U.S. last year rocketed 30-fold compared with 2017 and legal moves to restrict LGBTQ rights are on the rise.
Canada’s travel advisory for the U.S. now includes a cautionary message for those who consider themselves two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning or intersex — or 2SLGBTQI+ for short.
“Some states have enacted laws and policies that may affect 2SLGBTQI+ persons,” the advisory says. “Check relevant state and local laws.”
The advisory did not specify which states it was referring to.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government employed experts “to look carefully around the world and to monitor whether there are particular dangers to particular groups of Canadians.”
Speaking to reporters in Atlantic Canada, she added: “Every Canadian government … needs to put at the center of everything we do the interest and the safety of every single Canadian and every single group of Canadians. That’s what we’re doing now.”
She declined to say whether any talks had been held with President Joe Biden’s administration before making the change. The overall risk profile for the U.S. remains at green, indicating a normal security precautions requirement.
The U.S. is Canadians’ top travel destination, and in June residents returned from about 2.8 million trips south of the border. About 1 million people, 4% of the Canadian population aged 15 years and older, are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or of another sexual orientation than heterosexual, according to official data released last year.
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in the U.S., has declared a national state of emergency, citing the proliferation of legislation in state capitols aimed at regulating the lives of queer people.
The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa did not have an immediate comment.
An LGBTQ+ owned cosmetics brand has cut ties with Alice Cooper in the wake of wildly anti-trans remarks the rock star made in a recent interview.
In a statement posted to its official Instagram page on Friday, Vampyre Cosmetics announced that it has canceled a collaboration with the 75-year-old singer, known for his theatrical stage persona and goth makeup.
“In light of recent statements by Alice Cooper we will no longer be doing a makeup collaboration,” the brand’s post reads. “We stand with all members of the LGBTQIA+ community and believe everyone should have access to healthcare. All pre-order sales will be refunded.”
On its website, Vampyre Cosmetics describes itself as “proudly women owned, disabled owned and LGBT+ owned,” and in their Instagram bio they describe their products as “for all races, ages and genders.”
According to Billboard, the brand launched its presale for the collaboration on August 14, with Cooper announcing the collection on his official website a few days later. The products have now been removed from Vampyre Cosmetics’ website.
Last week, Cooper made headlines for a going on a vile anti-trans rant in an interview with Stereogum. The “School’s Out” singer was asked to weigh in on recent anti-trans statements made on social media by fellow veteran shock rockers Paul Stanley of Kiss and Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, both of whom have since attempted to walk back their comments.
Cooper said he agreed with Snider and Stanley’s initial comments, suggesting that kids coming out as transgender or nonbinary at a young age is “a fad.” The “social contagion” narrative that more young people are coming out as trans due to peer pressure and exposure to trans-affirming messages on social media continues to be propagated by Republican politicians and anti-trans activists, despite being widely discredited by experts.
Cooper went on to reference a litany of right-wing anti-trans misinformation and conspiracy theories, including the thoroughly debunked hoax that schools are installing litter boxes for students who identify as cats, and the idea that trans women pose a threat to cisgender women in public bathrooms.
As of Monday, Cooper, who is currently promoting a new album, has not responded to the backlash to his remarks.
A Texas judge blocked the state’s upcoming ban on transition-related medical care for minors Friday as a judge in Missouri ruled that a similar ban in that state could take effect Monday, the latest in a legal fight over efforts by conservatives to restrict such care around the country.
In Texas, a group of families and doctors sued to block the state law, arguing it would violate parents’ rights and have devastating consequences for transgender children and teens who would be denied treatment recommended by their physicians and parents.
The ruling landed just ahead of the Sept. 1 start date for the ban. The Texas Attorney General’s office was expected to quickly file an appeal to let the law take effect.
The Missouri ruling by St. Louis Circuit Judge Steven Ohmer means that beginning next week, health care providers are prohibited from providing transition-related surgeries to minors. Trans youth who began puberty blockers or hormones before Monday will be allowed to continue on those medications, but other minors won’t have access to those drugs.
Some adults will also lose access to gender-affirming care. Medicaid no longer will cover treatments for adults, and the state will not provide those surgeries to people who are incarcerated.
Physicians who violate the law face having their licenses revoked and being sued by patients. The law makes it easier for former patients to sue, giving them 15 years to go to court and promising at least $500,000 in damages if they succeed.
The ACLU of Missouri, Lambda Legal, and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner last month sued to overturn the Missouri law on behalf of doctors, LGBTQ+ organizations, and three families of transgender minors, arguing that it is discriminatory. They asked that the law be temporarily blocked as the court challenge against it plays out. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Sept. 22.
But Ohmer wrote that the plaintiffs’ arguments were “unpersuasive and not likely to succeed.”
“The science and medical evidence is conflicting and unclear. Accordingly, the evidence raises more questions than answers,” Ohmer wrote in his ruling. “As a result, it has not clearly been shown with sufficient possibility of success on the merits to justify the grant of a preliminary injunction.”
One plaintiff, a 10-year-old transgender boy, has not yet started puberty and consequently has not yet started taking puberty blockers. His family is worried he will begin puberty after the law takes effect, meaning he will not be grandfathered in and will not have access to puberty blockers for the next four years until the law sunsets.
The law expires in August 2027.
Proponents of the law argued gender-affirming medical treatments are unsafe and untested.
Republican Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s office wrote in a court brief that blocking the law “would open the gate to interventions that a growing international consensus has said may be extraordinarily damaging.”
The office cited restrictions on gender-affirming treatments for minors in countries including England and Norway, although those nations have not enacted outright bans.
An Associated Press email requesting comment from the Attorney General’s Office was not immediately returned Friday.
Every major medical organization in the U.S., including the American Medical Association, has opposed bans on gender-affirming care for minors and supported the medical care for youth when administered appropriately. Lawsuits have been filed in several states where bans have been enacted this year.
“We will work with patients to get the care they need in Missouri, or, in Illinois, where gender-affirming care is protected under state law,” Yamelsie Rodríguez, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, said in a statement after the ruling.
The Food and Drug Administration approved puberty blockers 30 years ago to treat children with precocious puberty — a condition that causes sexual development to begin much earlier than usual. Sex hormones — synthetic forms of estrogen and testosterone — were approved decades ago to treat hormone disorders and for birth control.
The FDA has not approved the medications specifically as a treatment for trans youth. But they have been used for many years for that purpose “off label,” a common and accepted practice for many medical conditions. The mediations are also used to treat early-onset puberty and other health conditions in children. Doctors who treat trans patients say those decades of use are proof the treatments are not experimental.
Florida’s State Board of Education has approved new penalties to enforce the state’s anti-transgender bathroom law.
Signed into law in May by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is also running for his party’s presidential nomination in 2024, Florida’s House Bill 1521 went into effect in July. It requires people to use bathroom and changing facilities that correspond to the gender they were assigned at birth and applies to public schools, universities, parks, prisons, and other government buildings but not to businesses and healthcare facilities. DeSantis has said the law will ensure women’s safety, based on the myth that trans people are violent sexual predators who prey on innocent women and children.
Students who speak out for LGBTQ+ rights say they face retaliation from hostile school administrations determined to silence them.
As The Hill reports, on Wednesday the DeSantis-appointed State Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt a proposal outlining disciplinary measures for students and employees at state colleges who violate the law. The new rule requires the 28 public community and state colleges in the state’s college system, which is separate from the Florida university system, to update their student and employee codes of conduct to reflect the anti-trans law and establish disciplinary procedures for employees by April 1.
“Disciplinary actions may utilize a progressive discipline process that includes verbal warnings, written reprimands, suspension without pay, and termination,” the proposal states. “The disciplinary action taken should be based on the specific circumstances of the offense; however, a second documented offense must result in a termination.”
Schools are not required to provide unisex restrooms, and the requirements also apply to student housing. As The Hill notes, this will result in transgender and nonbinary students living in college dorms being unable to use restrooms that align with their gender identity.
The rule was met with opposition during the public comment period at Wednesday’s meeting. The mother of a transgender teenager said that the slate of anti-trans laws signed by DeSantisthis year has made her child fear for their life. A rising high school senior, they have opted not to apply to any colleges in Florida as a result.
Former Florida state Representative and current policy advisor at Equality Florida Carlos Guillermo Smith, who is running for state senate, said that the “new level of fear and intimidation” in the state has one goal: “to root transgender people out of the Florida College System.”
“It is death by a million cuts, where you just created such a toxic and hostile environment for trans people in our state that they no longer are going to want to call Florida home,” Smith told The Hill. “They’re just going to leave.”
The number of gender-affirming surgeries in the U.S. nearly tripled from 2016 to 2019 before dropping slightly in 2020, according to a study published Wednesday.
The increase likely reflects expanded insurance coverage for transgender care after the Obama administration and some states actively discouraged discrimination based on gender identity, lead author Dr. Jason Wright of Columbia University said. The dip in 2020 can be attributed to the pandemic.
About 48,000 patients underwent such surgeries during the five years studied, with about 13,000 procedures done in 2019, the peak year, and 12,800 in 2020.
A little more than half the patients were ages 19 to 30. Surgeries in patients 18 and younger, were rare: fewer than 1,200 in the highest volume year.
“This age group is really not what’s driving the overall increase in gender-affirming surgery that we found,” Wright said.
Among the youngest patients, the most common surgeries were breast and chest procedures, with more than 3,000 young people undergoing such operations during the five-year period.
These were likely transgender males — generally high school graduates — having their breasts removed, said Dr. Loren Schechter of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, who specializes in gender-affirming surgery and was not involved in the study. Having breast surgery at that age allows them to “go to the next phase of their life in a body with which they’re comfortable and is synchronous with their identity,” he said.
The study, published in JAMA Network Open, did not look at more common treatments in minors such as puberty blockers and hormones.
Researchers analyzed records from two national surgery databases. For all age groups, breast surgeries were the most common type, followed by genital surgeries. The researchers also counted about 6,600 cosmetic procedures such as liposuction, face lifts and nose reshaping.
The gender identities of the patients were unclear in the data and couldn’t be inferred in categories like breast reconstruction, which could be for either transgender males or females.
Private insurance covered most patients who had such surgeries, the researchers found. About 1 in 4 patients received coverage through Medicaid, the federal-state health care insurance program that helps pay for health care for low-income people.
I thought I left pink eye behind me when I graduated kindergarten. When, indeed, it was a recent sexual encounter as an adult that landed me with two eyelids nearly glued shut.
In the world of sexual health, we often find ourselves fixated on the well-known risks such as HIV and other common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. After all, these are the things that one may be routinely tested for at sexual health clinics.
Who knew there are a variety of unexpected infections you can get from sex? Not me–that is, until my recent diagnosis.
It was a sultry summer evening when I met Kevin*. Our chemistry was undeniable, and we quickly found ourselves drawn to each other. As the night unfolded, our hands and fingers explored each other’s bodies.
Days after our rendezvous, I noticed a peculiar irritation in my eye. It was almost like a short hair follicle was in my eye and no matter how hard I rubbed, it would never come out. I was concerned, but ignored the odd feeling until…I woke up the next morning.
Yellow gunk clogged both of my eyes and I knew exactly what was the problem. This had a familiar feeling from childhood. But could I really have pink eye? I used Telehealth to confirm the diagnosis–and they shared the clinical term for the infection: conjunctivitis.
The clinician prescribed eye drops, and within two days I was already feeling an improvement. In the case of bacterial infection, such as my own, I found out that I was no longer highly contagious after 24 hours of antibiotic use. The only downside was that my blood-shot red eyes made everyone think Mary Jane was to blame.
I know that my hands could have been the host to the germs that cause pink eye after having played with Kevin’s butt. I even remember that I didn’t wash my hands afterwards and remember having rubbed my eyes several times during sex because of my allergies. The clinician confirmed that this was indeed a likely way I could have gotten pink eye.
I realized I had to tell other men about my experience, and the importance of hand washing because of our risk when we engage in anal sex. It’s embarrassing, indeed, to admit I didn’t have the utmost highest hygiene, but if my story can save your eyes the pain, let me inspire you!
I took to the web, and quickly found other infections we should be on the lookout for. One is the common fungal infection ringworm. Ringworm usually presents as a red, scaly or raised rash on the skin. The rash often has a distinct border, which may be slightly elevated and well-defined. This fungal infection, usually associated with skin contact in non-sexual settings, can also be transmitted during intimate encounters as well. Alarmingly, recent cases of drug-resistant ringworm among men who have sex with men in the U.S. have raised concerns among healthcare providers.
Among the lesser-known infections is Mycoplasma genitalium, or “M gen.” This elusive bacterial infection often goes undetected due to its subtle symptoms, some of which can be mistaken for other STIs. If you do have symptoms, they might include burning, stinging, or pain when you pee, or you might get discharge from your penis, vagina, or front hole. (You can find out more info about testing and treatment here.)
It doesn’t make sense to be overly afraid of these unusual infections, but it’s an important reminder to pay attention to our bodies and look out for even small issues that may come up. Starting a conversation with a healthcare provider for any concerns is always the best step!
So, let us embark on this journey with confidence, unafraid to discuss even the most unexpected of infections, as we foster a safer and healthier space for everyone to thrive. The more you know about these other risks from sex, the more you’ll be prepared to protect yourself and live out your sex life fully empowered.
Catholic schools in Worcester, Massachusetts have issued a new policy that orders students to use their names and pronouns assigned at birth and conduct themselves in a manner “consistent with their biological sex,” according to a statement issued by the local diocese on August 15.
The policy affects more than 5,000 students in 21 schools in the city 45 miles west of Boston.
While the guidance claims that bullying and harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity “will not be tolerated,” the policy goes on to say that “students may not advocate, celebrate or express same-sex attraction in such a way as to cause confusion or distraction in the context of Catholic school classes, activities or events.”
“We do not serve anyone’s greater good by falsifying the truth, for it is only the truth that frees us for the full life that God offers to each of us,” the diocese said.
The strict guidance stands in contrast to the spirit of statements issued by Pope Francis, who has asked “Who am I to judge?” when questioned about gay priests in the church.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis said, “Being homosexual isn’t a crime.”
Despite those sentiments, the diocese quotes Francis to argue in favor of the discriminatory policy.
“As Pope Francis notes, we must always respect the sacred dignity of each individual person, but that does not mean the Church must accept the confused notions of secular gender ideology.”
The new policy was approved by Bishop Robert J. McManus, well-known in Worcester for his religious orthodoxy.
Last year, McManus gained national attention for stripping the Jesuit-run Nativity School of Worcester of its Catholic designation after leaders there refused to lower Black Lives Matter and Pride flags.
The school serves primarily low-income boys of color in grades five through eight.
McManus argued in an open letter that the sentiments associated with the flags were “contrary to Catholic teaching.”
According to McManus, the Black Lives Matter banner had been co-opted by “factions which also instill broad-brush distrust of police and those entrusted with enforcing our laws,” while the Pride flag contradicted Catholic teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Flying the two flags sent “a mixed, confusing and scandalous message to the public about the Church’s stance on these important moral and social issues,” the letter read.
In Worcester, Joshua Croke, president of LGBTQ+ nonprofit Love Your Labels, called the bishop’s new policy both unsurprising and harmful.
“He has a long history of anti-LGBTQ practices and positions,” Croke told The New York Times.
The doctrinaire policy is an order for kids to “stay in the closet,” Croke said.
According to findings from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 17th Annual LGBTQ+ Community Survey, the proliferation of bans on gender affirming care in conservative states have had “striking” impacts on “the health and well-being of LGBTQ+ adults.”
For example, 79.1 percent of respondents reported feeling less safe as an LGBTQ person as a result of these health care restrictions, while nearly half said the policies affected the physical and/or mental health of themselves or their loved ones.
Some of the specific negative consequences of gender affirming care bans, 80.5 percent of respondents said, include the worsening of “harmful stereotypes, discrimination, hate, and stigma against the LGBTQ+ community.”
HRC conducted the survey, which included more than 14,000 LGBTQ adult participants from all 50 states and D.C., in partnership with Community Marketing and Insights, publishing the findings in a report released on Thursday.
The group noted more than 80 anti-LGBTQ bills were passed in statehouses across the country so far in 2023, including bans on guideline directed gender affirming health care that are now enforced in 19 states — which, collectively, are home to a third of all trans youth in the U.S.
Along with addressing the survey questions, participants submitted written responses that provide more information and context about the ways in which their lives have been impacted by the anti-trans legislation.
For example, the survey’s finding that more than half of transgender and non-binary adults nationwide “would move — or already have moved — from a state that passed or enacted a gender-affirming care ban” is preceded by a quote from a trans/nonbinary man about the emotional decision of having to flee his home state:
“My home state, where I no longer live, is one of the states most affected by the wave of legislation,” he said. “My community there is in so much pain, and it pains me very much that I may never be able to visit home again.”
Anti-trans policies have profoundly shaped how LGBTQ adults organize their lives, the data shows, influencing decisions about where they live, work, go to school, and spend their money.
HRC’s report includes a section on Florida, noting it had issued a travel advisory on the risks of visiting or relocating to the state as a result of the “extremely anti-LGBTQ+ agenda” pushed by its Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who, by running for president, “has threatened to bring his discriminatory policymaking to the national level.”
“I feel like I am losing my basic rights over my body and my right to exist in public spaces,” wrote a transmasculine/nonbinary Floridian. “I feel dehumanized.”
Support for abortion access remains high among both Democratic and Republican voters, and as such, Republicans have resorted to trying to trick people into voting for anti-abortion measures – and they’re using anti-trans fearmongering to do it.
In several states, Republicans have tried to convince voters that ballot measures seeking to restrict reproductive rights will also protect youth from Democrats – who they say are trying to force children into gender transitions.
A recent report from Slatedetailed how Republicans have (unsuccessfully so far) used this tactic in Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
In Michigan last year, Republicans spent millions of dollars trying to defeat an abortion rights amendment by trying to convince voters it also would have allowed doctors to perform gender-affirming surgery on children without their parents’ consent.
The amendment did pass, and it gave the people of Michigan full decision-making power when it comes to “prenatal care, childbirth, postpartum care, contraception, sterilization, abortion care, miscarriage management, and infertility care.” Republicans released ads trying to make voters believe that the inclusion of “sterilization” in the language somehow meant kids would be allowed to transition without their parents knowing. Legal experts refuted this claim and said the amendment could not be interpreted as such.
In Ohio, Republicans ran anti-trans ads in an effort to get people to vote for a ballot measure that had nothing to do with trans rights but would have stopped an abortion rights amendment.
An ad funded by the right-wing group “Protect Women Ohio” shows a parent reading a bedtime story to a young girl. A voiceover states, “You promised you’d keep the bad guys away. Protect her.” It warns that “trans ideology” is being pushed in classrooms and that kids are being encouraged to undergo gender transitions. The ad encouraged parents to protect their rights by voting yes on August 8th to Issue 1, even though that measure had nothing to do with trans rights. https://www.youtube.com/embed/QdLtcX1Hzlk
But Ohioans didn’t take the bait. In fact, even though Republicans hastily threw together an emergency vote on Issue 1, voter turnout was reportedly 38 percent higher than all regularly scheduled primary elections since 2016. Issue 1 was defeated by 14 percent.
One ad from Protect Women Ohio claims the amendment will allow kids to undergo “sex change surgery” without their parents’ knowledge or consent. The ad warns: “They’re coming for your parental right.
The actual constitutional amendment that voters will decide on in November doesn’t even mention gender-affirming care for minors. It states: “Every individual has a right to make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions, including but not limited to decisions on contraception, fertility treatment, continuing one’s own pregnancy, miscarriage care, and abortion.”
“Opponents have latched on to the ‘but not limited to’ language to say that this could provide a constitutional right to, among other things, gender-affirming care rights. That’s not a legally persuasive argument,” Jonathan Entin, a professor emeritus at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve School of Law, told NBC News.
Wisconsin Republicans did the same thing in a critical state Supreme Court case earlier this year. In April, Judge Janet Protasiewicz prevailed over conservative opponent Dan Kelly, giving liberals a majority on the court for the first time in 15 years.
And despite the fact that the key issues in the race were abortion and redistricting, rather than trans rights, Protasiewicz faced vicious anti-trans attacks throughout her campaign from a far-right extremist group called the American Principles Project. The American Principles Project PAC reportedly spent almost $800,000 on ads and text messages supporting Kelly and accusing Protasiewicz of trying to turn kids transgender.
According to Wisconsin Watch, one text from an unknown number that included an American Principles Project video said Protasiewicz is “endorsed by all the woke activists that are stripping parents of their rights in Wisconsin schools and forcing transgenderism down our throats.”
Others said, “Protasiewicz and her woke allies want to TRANS our children without notifying parents” and have accused the “woke left” of having an “unending thirst to trans our children.”
States that have placed abortion rights on the ballot have found that a majority of voters support protecting those rights by law, even in rural red states like Kansas, Kentucky, and Montana.
Rajee Narinesingh faced struggles throughout her life as a transgender woman, from workplace discrimination to the lasting effects of black market injections that scarred her face and caused chronic infections.
In spite of the roadblocks, the 56-year-old Florida actress and activist has seen growing acceptance since she first came out decades ago.
“If you see older transgender people, it shows the younger community that it’s possible I can have a life. I can live to an older age,” she said. “So I think that’s a very important thing.”
Now, as a wave of new state laws enacted this year limit transgender people’s rights, Narinesingh has new uncertainty about her own future as she ages.
“Every now and then I have like this thought, like, oh my God, if I end up in a nursing home, how are they going to treat me?” Narinesingh said.
Most of the new state laws have focused attention on trans youth, with at least 22 states banning or restricting gender-affirming care for minors.
For many transgender seniors, it’s brought new fears to their plans for retirement and old age. They already face gaps in health care and nursing home facilities properly trained to meet their needs. That’s likely to be compounded by restrictions to transgender health care that have already blocked some adults’ access to treatments in Florida, and sparked concerns the laws will expand to other states.
Transgender adults say they’re worried about finding welcoming spaces to live in their later years.
“I have friends that have retired and they’ve decided to move to retirement communities. And then, little by little, they’ve found that they’re not welcome there,” said Morgan Mayfaire, a transgender man and the executive director of TransSOCIAL, a Florida support and advocacy group.
Discrimination can range from being denied housing to being misgendered and struggling to get nursing homes to acknowledge their visitation rights.
“In order to be welcome there, they have to go into the closet and deny who they are,” Mayfaire said.
About 171,000 of the more than 1.3 million transgender adults in the United States are aged 65 and older, according to numbers compiled by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.
The growing population has brought more services such as nursing homes and assisted living centers that are geared toward serving the LGBTQ+ community, though such facilities remain uncommon. They include Stonewall Gardens, a 24-apartment assisted living center that opened in Palm Springs, California in 2015.
The center’s staff are required to go through sensitivity training to help make the center a more welcoming environment for residents, interim executive director Lauren Kabakoff Vincent said. The training is key for making a more accepting environment for transgender residents and making them feel more at home.
“Do you really want to be moving into a place where you have to explain yourself and have to go through it over and over?” Vincent said. “It’s exhausting, and so I think being able to be in a comfortable environment is important.”
SAGE, which advocates on behalf of LGBTQ+ seniors, offers training to nursing homes and other elder care providers. The group trained more than 46,000 staff at 576 organizations around the country in the most recent fiscal year. But the group acknowledges that represents just a fraction of the elder care facilities around the country.
“We have a long way to go in terms of getting to the point where nursing homes, assisted living and other long-term care providers are prepared for and ready to provide appropriate and welcoming care to trans elders,” said Michael Adams, SAGE’s CEO.
The gap concerns Tiffany Arieagus, 71, an acclaimed drag performer in south Florida who also works in social services for SunServe, an LGBTQ+ nonprofit.
“I just am going on my 71 years on this earth and walking in the civil rights march with my mother at age six and then marching for gay rights,” Arieagus said. “I’ve been blessed enough to see so many changes being made in the world. And then now I’m having to see these wonderful progressions going backwards.”
A handful of states, including Massachusetts and California, have in recent years enacted laws to ensure that LGBTQ+ seniors have equal access to programs for aging populations and requiring training on how to serve that community.
But the push for restrictions on access to health care has brought uncertainty in other states. Florida’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors also includes restrictions that make it difficult, if not impossible, for many adults to get treatment.
SAGE has seen a spike in the number of calls to its hotline following the wave of anti-transgender laws, and Adams said about 40% of them have come from trans seniors primarily in conservative parts of the country worried about the new restrictions.
The limits have prompted some trans adults to leave the state for care, with some turning to crowdfunding appeals for help. But for many trans seniors, such a move isn’t as easy.
“You have the general fear, fear that is leading clinicians being concerned and perhaps stepping away from offering care, fear of trans elders of who is a safe clinician to go to,” Dan Stewart, associate director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Aging Equality Project, said.
Florida’s law has already created obstacles for Andrea Montanez, LGBTQ immigration organizer at Hope CommUnity Center near Orlando. Montanez, 57, said her prescription for hormone therapy was initially denied after the restrictions were signed.
Montanez, who has been speaking out at Florida Medical Board meetings about the impact of the new state law, said she’s worried about what it will be mean as she approaches retirement.
“I hope I have a happy retirement, but health care is a big problem,” Montanez, who was eventually able to get her prescription filled, said.
For Tatiana Williams, 51, the restrictions are stirring painful memories of a time when she and other members of the transgender community had to rely on dangerous and illegal sources for gender-affirming medical care. Now the the executive director of the Transinclusive Group in Wilton Manors, Florida, Williams remembers being hospitalized for a collapsed lung after receiving black market silicone injections for her breasts.
“What we don’t want is the community resorting to going back to that,” Williams said.
Still, older transgender adults say they see hope in how their generation is working with younger trans people to speak out against the wave of the restrictions.
“The community’s going to take care of itself. It’s as simple as that. We’re going to find ways to take care of ourselves and we’re going to survive this,” Mayfaire said. “And as far as trans youth panicking over this, look to your elders.”