Report retracted: Utah's gender dysphoria diagnoses rise sharply
Editor's note: After this article was published Jan. 17, 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, 2024, 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.
Utah saw the nation's third steepest rise in gender dysphoria diagnoses in recent years, a new analysis shows.
Driving the news: Gender dysphoria diagnoses in Utah increased 193% from 2018 to 2022, Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick and Kavya Beheraj report from a new Definitive Healthcare analysis.
- That's a sharper jump than all other states except Indiana (247%) and Virginia (274%).
The big picture: Such diagnoses rose in nearly every state in that time frame — falling only in South Dakota, which last year became the sixth state to restrict gender-affirming care for minors.
Why it matters: The nearly nationwide increases suggest growing demand for gender-affirming care, even amid efforts to restrict access.
Be smart: Gender dysphoria is a form of psychological distress felt by people who believe their assigned sex fails to match their gender identity.
- Not all transgender people experience or are diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
- However, such a diagnosis is often a first step when seeking gender-related mental health care or gender-affirming care to access treatment and activate insurance coverage.
Catch up quick: Utah lawmakers last year banned gender-affirming care for trans youth, forcing patients to travel out of state.
- As a result, teen patients in Utah now have to travel nearly 6 hours on average — an 8-fold increase from 2022.
- Research shows that access to gender-affirming care can decrease rates of depression and suicide.
- Transgender advocates say that the promotion of gender-affirming care bans can fuel discrimination and hate crimes.
By the numbers: Utah's growth in diagnoses peaked in 2021, with a 45% rise over the previous year.
- Yes, but: The following year, diagnoses only increased 18% — the least growth of any year studied.
Context: 2022 brought Utah's first major wave of anti-trans proposals, and lawmakers overrode a gubernatorial veto to pass a ban against trans students on girl sports teams.
- A judge blocked the ban that summer, triggering lawmakers' backup plan: a commission to decide whether trans girls can participate. Parents have criticized the commission's policies as vague.
What they're saying: Anti-trans legislation has produced dips in diagnoses elsewhere, the authors for Definitive Healthcare found.
- That could indicate that "shifting social and political climates have pushed young patients and their parents to seek diagnoses in states that are friendlier to trans people," the report states.
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