Texas became the largest state to ban gender-affirming care for minors when Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed a bill on Friday outlawing puberty blockers and hormone therapy for people under 18. It’s the latest piece of legislation introduced and enacted across the United States that public health experts say discriminates against the LGBTQ+ community.

Rhonda Schwindt is an associate professor of nursing at the George Washington University as well as a nationally certified psychiatric/mental health clinical nurse specialist and nurse practitioner with extensive experience teaching graduate nursing students. Schwindt leads efforts to prepare future nurse practitioners in providing affirming mental health care to transgender and gender-expansive patients. Schwindt can discuss the impact discriminatory legislation and harmful rhetoric has on members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“In my own clinical practice, I see this every day. Members of the LGBTQIA+ community are not only dealing with hearing it on the news but seeing it on social media, reading about some new legislation that’s being proposed or being passed. Or, about one more person in a public office blaming all the ills of society on people who don’t look like them,” Schwindt says. “It continues to contribute to that stigma, and it snowballs into being discriminated against when they go to seek healthcare or being mistreated when they go shopping. All of this contributes even further to the increased risk of mental and physical health illnesses and concerns in the community.”

Schwindt can discuss these inequities in healthcare and the importance of educating future clinicians to better serve diverse communities. She can also share ways that people can be better allies of the LGBTQ+ community.

WATCH: Hear more from Schwindt on advancing equity for the LGBTQ+ community in healthcare and society in this video.