WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-N.J.) joined a group of colleagues in urging President Joe Biden to take additional action to help transgender people access gender-affirming health care, protect them against violence and discrimination, and support health care providers facing threats of violence and limits on their ability to provide care.
As 2023’s International Transgender Day of Visibility is underway, the transgender community is experiencing escalating attacks that aim to prohibit access to medically necessary care and allow for discrimination against transgender and nonbinary people.
Since January alone, there have been more than 400 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced, many of which include bans on gender-affirming care. With the rapidly increasing number of anti-LGBTQ+ state bills, far-right extremists have been emboldened to physically attack members of the transgender community. At least 38 transgender people were killed in the United States in 2022. Many of the attacks targeted transgender women of color.
“International Transgender Day of Visibility is a celebration of transgender people across the globe,” the senators wrote to the President. “It is meant to give transgender communities hope and support in the face of continued violence against them and their health care providers, as well as a growing movement to pass laws that discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals. As elected officials, it is our responsibility to guarantee that transgender people are supported and live free from violence and discrimination. We write to urge your Administration to build on the steps it has already taken to achieve this important goal, and champion a robust, whole-of-government response to violence and discrimination against transgender people; ensure access to gender-affirming care; and engage in a public campaign to educate the transgender community about their legal rights and available support.”
In the letter, the senators continued, “We are disappointed that the campaign of hate and discrimination against transgender people and their communities has resulted in violence and discriminatory legislation. And while we are encouraged by the work that your Administration has done, this problem calls for more action across the federal government. On this Transgender Day of Visibility, we are committed to fighting for this community’s freedom to survive and thrive. We ask for your continued support.”
As a result of state legislation, and rising extremism and violence against the transgender community, health care providers have cancelled in-person services and removed online information on how to access gender-affirming care. Barriers to gender-affirming care harm the mental and physical health of transgender and nonbinary people.
In addition, transgender people and their families have been forced to travel out-of-state for gender-affirming care due to a lack of access to care or fear of punishment.
Joining Sens. Menendez and Booker in signing the letter to President Biden were Sens. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tina Smith (D- Minn.), Mazie Hirono (D- Hawaii), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).