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Gender Dysphoria Diagnoses on the Rise Across the U.S.

South Dakota was the only state where the diagnoses rate for gender dysphoria declined between 2018 and 2022

Gender Dysphoria Diagnoses on the Rise Across the U.S.

A new study found an increasing number of people across the country have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

Gender dysphoria increased in 49 states between 2018 and 2022 according to Definitive Healthcare. South Dakota is the only state where diagnoses of gender dysphoria decreased. 

Definitive Healthcare is a data and analytics company focused on the healthcare industry. The organization released a report examining the trends in the medical intervention sought by people who identify as transgender. 

“About 1.6 million Americans aged 13 and older identify as transgender,” states Definitive Healthcare. “Transgender people are less likely than non-transgender people to have a college degree, be employed, insured, or married. They also report having more days of poor mental and physical health than their non-trans peers.”

The organization warned that “the LGBTQ community’s work to promote visibility and equality” in healthcare “has been met with legislative efforts to limit or ban trans-specific care services in nearly half of U.S. states.”

“But even without these bans, trans patients’ access to healthcare has been historically limited by a variety of factors, including disproportionate personal economic barriers, inconsistent payor coverage for mental health and other services, social stigma and discrimination, shortages of hormones and other drugs, and a lack of specialists with expertise in transgender care,” the report added.

Gender dysphoria is the term used to describe the “deep sense of unease and distress” that an individual may experience if they feel their biological sex is not the same as their perceived gender. 

No one knows exactly what causes gender dysphoria. Some experts believe that hormones in the womb, genes, and cultural and environmental factors may be involved,” noted the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

According to the report, Virginia had the largest increase in gender dysphoria diagnoses with a 274% jump over four years. Indiana saw the second-highest rate increase and reported a 247% spike in its gender dysphoria diagnosis rate. Other states where the diagnosis volume increased were Utah (193%), Alaska (183%), South Carolina (171%), Delaware (170%), and Washington (145%). 

Data indicated that gender dysphoria diagnoses declined in South Dakota by 23% between 2018 and 2022. Hawaii and Connecticut saw the smallest upsurge in the rate of diagnosis with just an increase of 6% and 10% respectively. 

Definitive Healthcare suggests that “ensuring access to gender-affirming care will ultimately need to occur on a legislative level, with the federal and state governments aligning to enshrine Medicare and Medicaid coverage for medically necessary treatments like counseling, hormones, surgery, voice and communication therapy, and fertility assistance.”

“Under America’s system of representational democracy, these state-by-state differences ostensibly reflect the differing needs and perspectives of each state’s constituents,” the analysts behind the report wrote. “The glaring problem, of course, is that trans people have real, relatively uniform healthcare needs, whether they live in Texas or Maine, in New York City or in an unincorporated community in Arkansas.”

“The response to this problem must involve raising awareness around those healthcare needs and positioning trans individuals’ rights to access necessary care as integral as those of any other minority group, whether racial, ethnic, religious, or sexual in nature,” they added.

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