Health Impact Assessment: Minnesota Gender Affirming Care Refuge Bill

Meghan Ford

MPH, Public Health Administration & Policy

Kathleen Call

Transgender, legislation


Background: Transgender people face persecution for seeking gender affirming care (GAC) in many states due to recent legislation. This perpetuates existing barriers to healthcare and negatively impacts health outcomes among this already vulnerable population, their families, and support systems. This project examines the potential impacts of passing the GAC refuge bill (HF146 and SF63) or a similar executive order on the transgender youth population in Minnesota and the other states from which youth are most likely to seek GAC in Minnesota: Texas, Florida, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota. 

Approach to the Problem: A rapid Health Impact Assessment was conducted to answer the following research questions: 1) How many youth in identified states would this bill impact? 2) What is the link between mental health outcomes and access to GAC for transgender youth? 3) How do media messages around the transgender identity and/or GAC correlate with these mental health outcomes? 4) What would the impact of passing the bill be on Minnesota’s healthcare system?

Findings: This bill would protect access to GAC in MN for 16% of the transgender population ages 13-17 in the US. The literature indicates that lack of GAC increases negative mental health outcomes while GAC decreases adverse mental health outcome. Laws banning GAC have negative impact on caregivers and parents of gender non-confirming and trans youth. Anti LBGTQ+ legislation, even when not passed, and negative LBGTQ+ media messages harm the mental health of LBGTQ+ people. Question 4 is in progress; preliminary results will be available soon.  

Meghan Ford research day poster

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