What Now? A Resource Guide for Trans Kids and their Families
As of March 22, 2023, gender-affirming care is now banned for minors in the State of Iowa. It is completely understandable if you feel alone, afraid, and unsure of what to do next. Here are a few things you might want to know as you figure out what’s next.
IF YOU ARE ALREADY ACCESSING AFFIRMING CARE:
You have time. Gender-affirming care will not cease immediately; healthcare providers have six months (180 days) to end care. In that time, you can build a plan to access care in other ways, if possible. We are recommending that you start that process as soon as possible.
Additionally: It is not illegal to use gender-affirming care in Iowa, only to prescribe it. That means that if you are using hormones that you got out of state or an implant prescribed before the 180 days, you are not disobeying the law.
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR AND MENTAL HEALTH PROVIDER
First, call your current healthcare provider and therapist and ask them about options and referrals for affirming care outside the state. These referrals may take time, as many affirming providers will receive similar calls from other families. Remember that everyone deserves care. You can also ask your provider for medical records to be shared with new providers.
Providers in Iowa can still draw labs and coordinate care with out-of-state providers; they cannot prescribe HRT or perform surgeries themselves.
GET CONNECTED TO YOUR INSURANCE
Next, you’ll want to get in touch with your insurance. Everyone’s policies will look different with this new change. The best thing you can do is call your insurance company directly and ask them how to proceed and if they will cover gender-affirming care outside of Iowa.
IF YOU ARE NOT ACCESSING GENDER-AFFIRMING CARE YET:
Providers in Iowa recommend starting care outside of the state so that there is no disruption of care after 180 days. The only exception is if you are a minor 17.5 years of age or older. If you will be 18 by the end of the 180 days, your healthcare is not at risk.
WHAT IF I CAN’T LEAVE THE STATE?
If you cannot leave the state for care and have to go off of HRT, talk with your healthcare provider about what that means for you. The recommendation is to take your meds until they run out; do not titrate off them without consulting a physician.
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
One Iowa provides resources and referrals to mental health providers throughout Iowa. Please email Max Mowitz (they/he) at email@example.com to get connected to a mental healthcare provider if you do not have one already. Max can also connect you to support groups in your area.
Iowa Safe Schools
Iowa Trans Mutual Aid Fund
Central Iowa Rainbow Families
This legislation is extremely scary and startling. Connect with those you love and develop a safety plan to prioritize your mental health. This can include focusing on activities that bring you joy, and connecting with non-medical ways of affirming your gender (binders, affirming clothing and haircuts, etc.)
To cisgender allies, check in on your Trans, Nonbinary, and Gender Diverse loved ones.