Updated Feb 14, 2024 - News

Report retracted: Gender dysphoria diagnosis rising in Colorado amid broader acceptance

Editor's note: After this article was published Jan. 24, 2024, the company that was the source of the data, Definitive Healthcare, retracted its report and removed the link to the findings.

  • Axios pressed Definitive Healthcare for an explanation multiple times. On Feb. 2, the company sent Axios a statement: "Upon review, we determined that the analysis cited in the referenced article was below our standards, so we elected to retract the article."
  • Based on that statement, Axios is no longer confident in the report. For transparency, the original article remains below. The map has been removed.

Gender dysphoria diagnoses increased 89% in Colorado between 2018 and 2022, per a new Definitive Healthcare report.

Why it matters: The increase suggests growing demand for gender-affirming care in Colorado, which is working to protect access as other states restrict it.

Be smart: Gender dysphoria is a form of psychological distress felt by people who believe their assigned sex fails to match their gender identity, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj write.

  • Not all transgender people experience or are diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
  • But such a diagnosis is often a first step to access treatment and activate insurance coverage when seeking gender-related mental health care or gender-affirming care.

Driving the news: It appears that young Americans are increasingly open to seeking gender-affirming care.

  • The share of gender dysphoria diagnoses among patients under 18 increased from 18% to 20% between 2018 and 2022 — perhaps a reflection of trans identities and gender identity ideas becoming "more accepted by society," as the report put it.

Between the lines: Colorado lawmakers are concerned about a lack of access to gender-affirming health care and want the state to conduct a study and make recommendations on how to address the issue.

  • The Legislature is set to consider another bill to require schools to address students by their preferred name, without having to first obtain an official name or gender change.

The big picture: The increase in Colorado mirrored all but one state. The estimated rates fell in South Dakota, which last year became the sixth state to restrict gender-affirming care for minors.

What they're saying: "Other states with bans on gender-affirming care for youth have seen year-to-year dips in gender dysphoria diagnoses, too," the report found, "possibly indicating that shifting social and political climates have pushed young patients and their parents to seek diagnoses in states that are friendlier to trans people."

Zoom out: Gender-affirming care is supported by major medical associations, and the transgender population remains relatively small — about 1.6 million people 13 and over, per one estimate, or about 0.5% of the total U.S. population.


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