Background Transgender and nonbinary people are disproportionately affected by structural barriers to quality healthcare, mental health challenges, and economic hardship. This study examined the impact of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis and subsequent control measures on gender-affirming care, mental health, and economic stability among transgender and nonbinary people in multiple countries. Methods We collected multi-national, cross-sectional data from 964 transgender and nonbinary adult users of the Hornet and Her apps from April to August 2020 to characterize changes in gender-affirming care, mental health, and economic stability as a result of COVID-19. We conducted Poisson regression models to assess if access to gender-affirming care and ability to live according to one’s gender were related to depressive symptoms, anxiety, and changes in suicidal ideation. Results Individuals resided in 76 countries, including Turkey (27.4%, n = 264) and Thailand (20.6%, n = 205). A majority were nonbinary (66.8%, n = 644) or transfeminine (29.4%, n = 283). Due to COVID-19, 55.0% (n = 320/582) reported reduced access to gender-affirming resources, and 38.0% (n = 327/860) reported reduced time lived according to their gender. About half screened positive for depression (50.4%,442/877) and anxiety (45.8%, n = 392/ 856). One in six (17.0%, n = 112/659) expected losses of health insurance, and 77.0% (n = 724/940) expected income reductions. The prevalence of depressive symptoms, anxiety and increased suicidal ideation were 1.63 (95% CI: 1.36-1.97), 1.61 (95% CI: 1.31-1.97), and 1.74 (95% CI: 1.07-2.82) times higher for individuals whose access to gender-affirming resources was reduced versus not. Discussion The COVID-19 crisis is associated with reduced access to gender-affirming resources and the ability of transgender and nonbinary people to live according to their gender worldwide. These reductions may drive the increased depressive symptoms, anxiety, and suicidal ideation reported in this sample. To improve health of transgender and nonbinary communities, increased access to gender-affirming resources should be prioritized through policies (e.g., digital prescriptions), flexible interventions (e.g., telehealth), and support for existing transgender health initiatives.
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