Year of Publication
PURPOSE: The politicization of adolescent gender-affirming care has occurred alongside targeted harassment (e.g., threats of violence, doxing, bomb threats) of adolescent gender-affirming care providers across the United States. This study sought to explore their experiences of targeted harassment.
METHODS: From October to December 2022, mental and physical health gender-affirming care providers from across the United States completed a survey including open-ended questions about the kinds of harassment they experienced (i.e., method and messages of harassment) and its impact on their lives and practices. Thematic analyses were used to analyze their responses.
RESULTS: In total, 117 providers completed the survey and 70% shared that either they, their practice, or their institution had received threats specific to delivering gender-affirming care. The most common experiences were threats via social media or mailed letters. Several received death threats. Providers described how targeted harassment impacted their psychological well-being and required them to reassess clinic safety. Additionally, providers expressed the need for a more accurate representation of gender-affirming care in media and stronger advocacy from institutions and organizations emphasizing the importance of this care.
DISCUSSION: Adolescent gender-affirming care providers are experiencing targeted harassment, significantly affecting their ability to deliver care to transgender and gender-diverse adolescents and their families. Providers stressed the importance of receiving support from their institutions to ensure their safety. The ongoing sociopolitical climate related to gender-affirming care coupled with targeted harassment of those providing it will further limit access to this care.