How gender-affirming health care startups are navigating legal miasma

Better late than never: It’s a critical time for the startup and venture communities to support trans founders.

Kate Anthony started in the Lone Star State.

It was there, in 2019, that she launched her app Euphoria, seeking to provide information and resources on gender-affirming care. She knew the stakes were going to be high, and as the state passed anti-trans legislation, she and her company were forced to flee.

Settling in Denver, Anthony made a plan on what to do next. She decided to maintain business as usual while the fight for trans rights continues. She’s not alone in that decision. Many apps, if not all, that service the trans community are hyperexposed, under fire and seemingly undeterred.

TechCrunch conducted a vibe check to see how trans entrepreneurs servicing their communities are navigating this moment. The Human Rights Campaign told TechCrunch that legislators in state houses have introduced 344 anti-LGBTQ+ bills this session, with more than 140 specifically targeting the trans community.

“We will not allow these anti-trans people to bully us into giving information.” Aydian Dowling, founder, Trace

These proposed restrictions range from an Alabama bill that seeks to deny medical care for transitions to Iowa and Alaska bans on trans students participating in sports. Louisiana introduced a bill to bar medical professionals from offering minors translation-related care, and Florida now prohibits gender-affirming care under Medicaid.

Anthony said it’s inevitable that her company will one day be sued by someone or some state. Other founders said they are watching the court systems closely, with some rethinking strategies regarding consumer privacy and employee benefits. And for the startup and venture community, support is better late than never — it’s a critical time to defend trans founders.

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