A new Child Trends brief describes the harm inflicted upon gender-diverse children and youth when policies deny them access to gender-affirming care and supportive environments. Gender-affirming care provides developmentally appropriate supports to gender-diverse children and youth. When transgender children and youth feel that their identities are supported, they experience greater life satisfaction, fewer depressive symptoms, increased feelings of safety at school, and reduced school dropout rates, the brief explains.

“This brief first describes gender-affirming care and why it is critical for transgender children and youth’s well-being. Then, we describe how policies that deny access to affirming care for transgender young people—or criminalize adults who support them—harm these children and their families. We conclude by contrasting discriminatory laws with the key elements found in supportive policies.”