Some Republicans just admitted their “endgame” is to ban transition care—for everyone

OPINION: They want us to return to a world where getting care means taking our lives into our own hands

A group of conservative state legislators were caught on mic this month admitting out loud what queer and trans activists have long known: the group, which included Michigan Representative Josh Schriver and Ohio Rep Gary Click, among others, discussed how their ultimate goal with their anti-trans agenda is to ban gender-affirming care for all trans people of all ages. They also talked about how the current rash of bans on youth care is just a palatable stepping stone until public opinion allows them to institute a full ban.

The conversation, which took place over an audio meeting on X (formerly known as a Twitter Space), was first reported by independent journalist Erin Reed. “If we are going to stop this for anyone under 18, why not apply it for anyone over 18?” asked Michigan representative Josh Schriver, who was a speaker on the Space. “It’s harmful across the board, and that’s something we need to take into consideration in terms of the endgame.”

Schriver went on to detail how they can continue shifting public opinion to eventually accomplish their goal. “We have to be looking at the endgame simultaneously, maybe even using that to move the window to say that this isn’t just wrong 0-18, it’s wrong for everyone and we shouldn’t be allowing that to happen,” he said.

This comes as no surprise to those who have been paying attention to the political discourse: it’s long been clear that Republicans are seeking an eventual full ban on transition care, even for trans adults.They’ve just usually avoided saying it with their whole chests up until now. 

To put it plainly, such conservatives and their transphobic liberal allies envision a future where trans people simply don’t exist. In this vision, there are no trans women, there are no trans men, no non-binary people, but rather merely people who suffer from gender dysphoria. These people simply do not agree with the idea of transitioning, and instead wish to prescribe a mixture of conversion therapy and prayer in order to force trans people to live according to their own beliefs.

These obsessions with everything trans have cost some politicians elections, but conservatives—especially those in state legislatures—simply do not seem to care. Many of them are content to lean in even further on attacking trans rights, protected by their gerrymandered districts. Many others appear to simply be in a race to inflict maximum pain on the trans community, despite the fact that trans issues just don’t seem to matter to conservative voters.

They don’t care that their policies would ruin the lives of thousands of trans people. They don’t even see trans people as people. You can tell by their language: they’ll use terms like “trans-identified man” instead of trans woman. There are no trans people in their view, only people who have “chosen” an identity. And identities can be changed back to fit a cisgender norm—at least in their minds.


Despite conservative claims otherwise, we know existing science says trans identities are naturally occurring and possibly even hard-wired, and we also know that the most effective way of treating gender dysphoria is through transition. Others may find a way to cope with living with some amount of dysphoria, and transition may not be possible for everyone who needs it, but it is the best solution we’ve found in more than a century of trying different treatments through a medical model.

“Nothing will ever stop every trans person from transitioning.”

We’re already seeing the early results of the right-wing radicalization against trans people, with hundreds of families and individuals fleeing to safer pastures, an internal trans refugee crisis of Republican making. We’re also seeing red state governments go to extraordinary lengths to insert themselves into trans people’s lives. Last week the Texas Tribune reported that Texas governor Greg Abbott has been sending demands for the medical records of trans Texans who are going out of state for transition care.

Despite the extensive and intrusive Republican government efforts at restricting trans lives, nothing will ever stop every trans person from transitioning. Even if our healthcare becomes illegal, many of us will just seek our hormones from the black market, myself included. I’ve been on the same dosage of estrogen for the last six years; I would simply continue that dosage with illegally supplied hormones if the government contravened your bodily autonomy.

But there is a huge danger in forcing thousands of trans people into shady black market transition care. Since formal transition care protocols like hormones and surgery were first developed, access to that care has been heavily restricted.

Twenty or so years ago, you needed to convince a gender clinic’s staff that you were sufficiently trans enough and had the ability to flawlessly pass as your gender identity before even being prescribed hormones in the first place. And surgery was exceptionally rare, and very expensive.

In response, many trans women resorted to backstreet surgeons who would perform gender reassignment surgeries off the books. Trans women died from botched surgeries from black market doctors.

None of this is theoretical, it is literal recent history in the U.S. and it is still a reality in many places overseas. It wasn’t until 2014 when the Obama administration started covering transition care under Medicare that private insurance companies began lifting exemptions on coverage for that care and it became accessible to everyday trans Americans.

This is the world that Republicans like those in last week’s online discussion want to return us to, where we’re taking our own lives in our hands in order to access the basic care we need. There is nothing “moderate” or “compassionate” about foisting this kind of life back upon trans people in the U.S.

We must not take a single step backward—our lives and health depend on it.

Katelyn Burns is a freelance journalist and columnist for Xtra and MSNBC. She was the first openly trans Capitol Hill reporter in U.S. history.