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Raising awareness of the harm caused by anti-trans youth legislation

State lawmakers around the country are filing and voting for bills that seek to limit access to health care for transgender and gender diverse youth and ban these youth from participating in school sports. These bad faith bills have not been created in response to a societal problem. Rather, they are being used to advance the political right’s culture war against LGBTQIA+ people. Whether these bills are enacted into law or not, they are doing immediate and long-term harms to the health of trans youth. If you live in a state where lawmakers are pushing these bills, these #transyouthmatter resources can help raise awareness of the harm these bills can cause.

#TransYouthMatter Resources

FACTS about anti-trans youth bills

  • The World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) monitors current research and new knowledge about evidence-based medicine for transgender people. It publishes Standards of Care and Ethical Guidelines for health care providers, which “articulate a professional consensus about the psychiatric, psychological, medical, and surgical management of gender dysphoria” to guide clinicians in providing quality care for transgender and gender diverse people, including children and adolescents.”1
  • Most transgender youth do not have any medical interventions prior to puberty. Instead, parents and caregivers are encouraged to focus on “acceptance and affirmation of the patient’s gender identity.” The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends a treatment model in which providers “offer developmentally appropriate care that is oriented towards understanding and appreciating the youth’s gender experience.”2
  • Feelings of gender dysphoria may become more intense at the onset of puberty. The WPATH Standards of Care recommend consideration of puberty blockers in combination with seeing a mental health provider. Transgender adolescents who receive treatment that suppresses their pubertal development can explore their gender identity without the pressure of dysphoria that can accompany physical development that is incongruent with their gender identity. This therapy is reversible. Once the medication is stopped, puberty resumes.
  • The anti-transgender bills filed in 2021 that seek to prohibit or limit access to health care describe a standard of medical treatment for transgender children and adolescents that does not exist. For example, bills in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and West Virginia would prohibit “castration, vasectomy, [and] hysterectomy” from being performed, when in fact these procedures are not part of the WPATH Standards of Care for children and adolescents.
  • Bills in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, South Carolina, and West Virginia include identical language, which suggests that they have not been written in response to local demand, but have instead been copied from bill language created by Promise to America’s Children Coalition, a collection of anti-LGBTQIA+ organizations.3
  • Many of these bills accurately note that large numbers of transgender adults experience much higher rates of suicidal ideation and “psychiatric morbidities” than those experienced by the general population. But none acknowledge that the poorer mental health outcomes experienced by transgender people are the result of stigma, discrimination, and manufactured controversy over their rights and health, perpetuated by the very legislation anti-transgender lawmakers continue to file.4
  • These bills ignore data showing improved mental health outcomes documented in transgender and gender diverse youth who do have access to gender affirming care.5, 6

How to TALK about these bills with friends, family, neighbors, and lawmakers

Politicians should stay out of doctor-patient relationships
  • Medical experts in endocrinology, psychiatry, and psychology support gender-affirming medical care. Politicians should not interfere in medical decisions between a doctor and their patients.
  • Professional associations for pediatricians, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, oppose these bills.
  • Professional medical associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Psychiatric Association oppose these bills.
  • Medical experts in endocrinology including the Endocrine Society and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health oppose these bills.
These bills are causing immediate harm
  • These bills subject transgender and gender diverse youth to government-approved stigma and discrimination.
  • They deny these young people access to medically-necessary health care that their doctors have prescribed for them.
  • Denying young people access to educational activities such as school sports deprives them of the social, emotional, and health benefits these activities bring.
Let kids be (healthy) kids
  • Putting the rights of children and adolescents up for debate, restricting their medical care, and isolating them from their peers adversely affects their health.
  • Research shows that public debate about the rights of people who have been marginalized, including transgender and gender diverse youth, can harm their mental health.
  • Lack of access to gender-affirming health care for young transgender and gender diverse people can harm their mental health over the course of their lifetimes—so the harm being done by these bills will be felt for decades.
The true purpose of these bills is to advance the right-wing culture war against LGBTQIA+ people
  • The New York Times reported that these bills are part of a “coordinated and poll-tested campaign by social conservative organizations like the American Principles Project and
    Concerned Women for America.”
  • An anti-LGBTQIA+ coalition called Promise to America’s Children has drafted the language for anti-gay bills for lawmakers and distributes talking points and social media content to parents.
  • Groups involved with Promise to America’s Children—like Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, and Family Watch International—have been on the frontlines of anti-LGBTQ activism for so long they’ve actually been designated as hate groups. We should not be passing laws written by hate groups.

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State bills restricting access of transgender youth to health care, school facilities, and school athletics threaten health and well-being

This Brief:
  • Describes standard-of-care for transgender and gender diverse youth
  • Outlines the potential harms to health of laws that restrict access to health care, school facilities, and school athletics
  • Offers recommendations for health care providers, school boards and other school officials, and parents for navigating the current anti-transgender youth climate


About care for Transgender Youth at Fenway? Looking for MA resources for Youth and Families?

  1. World Professional Association for Transgender Health, ‘Standards of Care Version 7’ (World Professional Association for Transgender Health, 2012.
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement, “Ensuring Comprehensive Care and Support for Transgender and Gender-Diverse Children and Adolescents,” October 1, 2018.
  3. Hatewatch staff, ‘Far-Right Groups Flood State Legislatures With Anti-Trans Bills Targeting Children | Southern Poverty Law Center’, Southern PovertyLaw Center, 2021.
  4. Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, and Sarah J. Erickson, ‘Minority Stress Predictors of HIV Risk Behavior, Substance Use, and Depressive Symptoms: Results from a Prospective Study of Bereaved Gay Men.’, Health Psychology, 27.4 (2008), 455–62.
  5. Pediatrics, “Pubertal Suppression for Transgender Youth and Risk of Suicidal Ideation,” 2020.
  6. PLOS One, “Access To Gender-Affirming Hormones During Adolescence and Mental Health Outcomes Among Transgender Adults,” 2022.

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