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Transgender Patients Deserve Access to Care 

Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center stand in solidarity with the transgender community. We are saddened and alarmed at the introduction of anti-transgender legislation happening across the country. We believe that access to gender-affirming healthcare and mental health services is life-saving and anti-transgender legislation is in opposition of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published medical guidelines. These guidelines “stand against stigmatization and marginalization of transgender and gender-diverse (TGD) youths, and emphasizes the need for their acceptance as members of our families, communities and workforce [1].”

“As experts, pediatricians are uniquely positioned to advocate for and support these young people. Politics has no place here. These are individual conversations between clinicians, patients and families about what’s best. The AAP applauds the hard work of our chapters focused on protecting transgender youth at the state level,” said AAP CEO/Executive Vice President Mark Del Monte, J.D. [2]. 

“As a pediatrician and fellow of the AAP, I firmly believe that families should have the ability to support their children in their journey of identity. Transgender youth should be allowed equity in healthcare, education and all areas of life,” said Anne Marie O’Melia, MS, MD, FAAP, Chief Medical and Clinical Officer of Eating Recovery Center and Pathlight Mood & Anxiety Center.

Providers should also be aware that some of the legislation proposed would prevent them from offering gender-affirming and life-saving care to transgender youth. It would make such care “child abuse.” Parents who affirm their child’s gender could potentially lose custody of their children [3].

“Trans youth too often struggle to receive sufficient family and community support, increasing the risk for significant mental health symptoms and issues,” said Allison Chase, PhD, Regional Clinical Director in Texas. “Therefore, creating a safe space to learn skills and process challenging emotions is an essential part of our therapeutic communities at ERC and Pathlight. It’s also essential to ensure the trans community has the necessary protections for healthcare coverage so that they are able to get the professional help and support they need when they need it.”

In a recent study [4] reviewed by the AAP, it was found that when transgender youth received gender-affirming treatment, their risk of suicide decreased by nearly 70%. To deny transgender children the option of this care is to directly harm their lives and well-being.

We are asking you to stand with us and take action on behalf of the transgender communities across the country who are currently facing legal discrimination.

Here are steps you can take to stand up for the transgender community and against discrimination:

  1. Most importantly, find out which bills are being considered in your state and contact your state legislators. Directly reference the bills by number. Communicate that you stand with providers and families in their ability to offer gender-affirming care and that you are asking them to vote no on these bills. Calling directly is most effective.
  2. Follow the easy steps on the Human Rights Campaign’s website to urge your federal legislators to pass the Equality Act.
  3. If you are a provider in the state of Texas, you can sign your name to this open letter written by Doctors For Change.

 

Sources:

[1] https://www.aappublications.org/news/2018/09/17/transgender091718 

[2] https://www.aappublications.org/news/2021/03/09/transgender-legislation-030921 

[3] https://www.billtrack50.com/BillDetail/1344561

[4] https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/145/2/e20191725

 

 

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