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Understanding Opposition to Transgender Rights: The Health Misinformation Perspective

T.J. Billard, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Communication Studies

School of Communication
Northwestern University

Executive Director
The Center for Applied Transgender Studies

Transgender rights have become the flashpoint du jour of the American culture wars, with the conservative movement, in particular, giving opposition to trans rights high priority. One key weapon in the arsenal of those who oppose trans rights has been health misinformation, which they have successfully employed to advance their political ends. Beyond negatively impacting trans people’s mental health and increasing barriers to accessing necessary medical care, the conservative campaign of misinformation has supported a wave of anti-transgender federal policy, state legislation, and mass media discourse (much of which has targeted trans youth specifically). As such, transgender health misinformation is—beyond a health equity issue—a social, cultural, and political problem. Drawing on a misinformation perspective to analyze current trends in trans-related policy and media discourse, this presentation explores the path forward for actualizing the health and human rights of transgender populations in the United States.

Presentation date:  June 03, 2021.