A record amount of legislation affecting LGBTQ rights is being introduced this year in the U.S.
That’s over 300 bills — and more than 130 of them specifically target transgender people, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Mental health professionals say this is having a great impact on LGBTQ youth and their mental health.
Not only do the bills affect mental health — but they also create barriers to necessary care, said Lola Wang, founder of Fig Tree Counseling. That could look like trans-affirming care, which is crucial for the safety and well being for trans people, she added.
These bills are also impacting the discrimination LGBTQ people face today, said Paviella Foster, chief program officer with Howard Brown Health.
In a survey, GLAAD found that 70% of LGBTQ Americans said discrimination toward the community has increased within the last two years.
“These bills are really prohibiting the service lines and the wraparound services that they need to be able to get the support that they need on a day-to-day basis,” Foster said.
Wang said conversations around these bills and a kid’s mental health shouldn’t be avoided by parents and caregivers.
“When there are a lot of things that are outside your control, talk with your kids about what is under control and what can be done in this family,” Wang said.
That could look like using correct pronouns or educating other family members, she added.