Transgender and nonbinary Missourians are reporting that medical providers in the state have been refusing to provide gender-affirming care due to new rules imposed by state Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R), fearing legal repercussions if they do so.
Journalist Erin Reed, who tracks legislation targeting LGBTQ people across the U.S., reported on trans people being forced to detransition in a post on Substack.
“Doctors that provide gender-affirming care statewide have had to pull their trans patients off of their medication, forcing them to medically detransition,” Reed said in the post.
Reed’s report includes a viral TikTok video showcasing the desperation and fear that Bailey’s new order has resulted in for trans Missourians.
“I’m scared and I don’t know what to do. Testosterone has been lifesaving for me,” said the Tiktok user, an 18-year-old high school senior in Springfield, Missouri, who goes by the name of Milo. “Taking me off of testosterone right now is taking away my happiness. It’s taking away my health care.”
“I don’t know for sure, because I haven’t been able to get in contact with my provider, but it looks like I will have to detransition for the time being … and I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to think,” Milo said. “I’m going to college in Missouri so I can’t even get out.”
Milo, who intends to go to art school in the fall, said they didn’t want to give up on their dreams “just to get out of this hellhole,” adding that the new rule was impeding on trans people’s right to health care.
“I’m a legal adult, I can make my own decisions,” Milo said.
Eli Erlick, a trans advocate and University of California, Santa Cruz philosophy doctoral candidate, shared an email sent to her from another trans person in Missouri, detailing how their doctor told them that their gender-affirming treatment had to be discontinued for the time being.
The doctor cited fears of legal repercussions from Bailey’s office as the reason they had to cease providing treatment.
“I do not currently have the processes in place to defend my license to practice gender-affirming care should the state investigate me under the new Attorney General emergency rule,” the doctor wrote. “I will be trying to resolve this as quickly as possible, but I do not know how long that will take.”
The doctor advised the patient to request a 90-day supply of medication until the matter could be resolved.
Though Bailey’s new rules allow existing patients to continue receiving care, the rules have instilled fear in Missouri doctors, who worry that they could face legal scrutiny or repercussions from the state if they continue providing gender-affirming treatment.
“I don’t know how it’ll affect me — I might be able to get my medicine and I might not,” said Zora Williams, a transgender woman living in St. Louis.
Earlier this month, Bailey imposed incredibly burdensome restrictions on how physicians can treat trans or nonbinary patients in the state. The rules require patients to document three years of gender dysphoria, even though some trans people don’t experience dysphoria at all. Patients must also undergo at least 18 months of therapy before they can be treated, and must be screened for autism or social media addiction to determine if their identity has been influenced by “social contagion” — falsely suggesting that trans people seeking gender-affirming treatment are only hopping on a fad, rather than seeking legitimate medical care.
This week, Bailey introduced a form on his website that allows state residents to report doctor’s offices they claim are engaging in questionable practices relating to gender-affirming care — even if they have no evidence whatsoever. Transgender activists and allies have encouraged people to flood the form with messages of support for trans people in order to disrupt Bailey’s efforts to attack providers of gender-affirming care.
“You can just submit stuff. And YOU should. If you can, spare the time to fill one of these out and junk it up,” said one trans Twitter user, adding that such forms “should be rendered useless as quickly as possible.”
Not everyone can pay for the news. But if you can, we need your support.
Truthout is widely read among people with lower incomes and among young people who are mired in debt. Our site is read at public libraries, among people without internet access of their own. People print out our articles and send them to family members in prison — we receive letters from behind bars regularly thanking us for our coverage. Our stories are emailed and shared around communities, sparking grassroots mobilization.
We’re committed to keeping all Truthout articles free and available to the public. But in order to do that, we need those who can afford to contribute to our work to do so.
We’ll never require you to give, but we can ask you from the bottom of our hearts: Will you donate what you can, so we can continue providing journalism in the service of justice and truth?