Metro Weekly

Majority of Americans Support Banning Medical Treatments for Trans Youth

Poll drops amid slew of legislation seeking to block minors from accessing hormones and surgical treatments for gender dysphoria.

Photo: Alexander Grey, via Unsplash

A majority of Americans say they believe transgender-identifying youth should be forced to wait until adulthood before being legally allowed to to use puberty blockers or receive other gender-affirming health care treatments, according to a new poll.

The poll was conducted by Convention of States Action, a right-wing group seeking a new constitutional convention to push through various amendments restricting government spending and actions, in conjunction with the Trafalgar Group, a conservative polling organization.

The poll surveyed more than 1,000 likely voters from Oct. 8-11, asking them questions about various national issues, including whether “underage minors should be required to wait until they are adults to legally use puberty blockers and undergo permanent sex-change procedures.” 

Taking into account the slanted language used in the poll regarding “permanent sex-change procedures,” which could have biased some of the responses to the poll, the survey found that an overwhelming majority — 78.7% — of Americans who are likely to vote in this year’s midterms support the idea of banning gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors. 

Republicans are most likely to support requiring minors to wait before receiving such care, with 96.8% backing the idea of delaying gender-affirming treatments. Among independents, 84.6% support delaying such treatments, with only 15.4% saying minors shouldn’t be required to wait. Even a majority of Democrats, or 53.2%, support imposed waiting periods over not waiting to receive such treatments.

Mark Meckler, the president of the Convention of States, told the right-wing news outlet The Center Square that the poll shows Americans do not support “the idea that young people have to be 16 to drive, 18 to vote, and 21 to drink, and yet can undergo life-altering medical procedures in middle school…”

The poll comes amid a wave of Republican lawmakers in various states proposing laws to prohibit trans-identifying minors from accessing gender-affirming treatments, including puberty blockers, hormones, and surgical interventions.

A legislative committee in Utah has advanced a bill to restrict access to those treatments following passage of a resolution calling for a ban and deeming transition-related health care as “harmful and irreversible.” In Oklahoma, Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill into law earlier this month to block the University of Oklahoma Medical Center from using COVID-19 relief money fund facilities that offer gender-affirming treatments to youth.

Bans on gender-affirming care have passed in Arkansas and Alabama, with Arizona restricting only surgery for minors, and lawmakers in Tennessee, Michigan, and Texas are considering similar legislation to restrict minors from accessing such treatments, with the latter state launching “child abuse” investigations of parents believed to have allowed their minor children to receive puberty blockers or hormones.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health, a transgender health association considered the leading expert on transition-related procedures, has recently for starting puberty blockers or hormones to 14 years old, with some select surgeries able to start as early as 15. 

Opponents of Arkansas-style bans on gender-affirming care argue that a one-size-fits-all approach does not take into account individual patients’ medical needs or situations. They also argue that launching investigations of, or prosecuting, parents of transgender youth infringes on parental rights — which has typically been an issue trumpeted by GOP politicians, but only when parents appear to hold conservative views on social issues, raising accusations of hypocrisy.

Dylan Brandt, a 17-year-old transgender minor who is one of four plaintiffs suing to block Arkansas’ ban from being enforced, recently testified in court that being allowed to access testosterone treatments as a minor made him feel more comfortable in his own body and reduced his feelings of gender dysphoria, according to the Arkansas Advocate.

“My outside finally matches the way I feel on the inside,” Brandt said. “I can look in the mirror and be okay with the way I look, and it feels pretty great.”

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