Republicans say state-level bans are necessary to protect children’s health, pointing to gaps in existing medical research on the long-term effects of gender-affirming care. says it defies medical consensus and puts transgender children at risk. Here’s what you should know:
What is Gender Affirming Care?
Physicians offer many treatments for people under the age of 18 who are experiencing emotional distress because their biological sex does not match their gender identity, or who identify as transgender. can provide The options available range from reversible puberty blockers to specific surgeries.
For children exhibiting the physical changes of puberty, blockers may be prescribed to temporarily halt the process and cause unwanted effects on the teenager’s body, such as menstruation in transgender boys or deepening voices in transgender girls. change can be prevented.
For older adolescents, hormone therapy can help the patient acquire secondary sex characteristics that are consistent with their gender identity. These drugs can, for example, lead to facial hair growth and a deeper voice in transgender boys and breast growth in transgender girls. Parental permission is required for hormone therapy and surgery. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Elevated surgery is one of many surgical options available to pre-adult transgender teens in certain countries (age 18 in the United States).according to standards of care from World Association of Transgender Health Professionalsit should be done “preferably after sufficient time in the desired gender role and after one year of testosterone treatment”. supposedly shouldn’t.
When do doctors choose gender reassignment treatment?
Some treatments, doctors say, help children feel supported in their identity and provide important psychological benefits.
“Gender affirmation care seeks to minimize the distress transgender individuals experience by acknowledging their gender identity and providing a supportive and non-judgmental environment,” said Dr. Association president Jack Resneck said. wrote in augustA stepwise care process for transgender minors, starting with reversible interventions like puberty blockers, allows young people to explore their gender identity while keeping their options open, he said. Stated.
American Psychiatric Association I got it In 2020, it was found that pubertal blockers, in particular, could relieve emotional distress and were associated with “significant improvements in psychosocial and emotional development.”
The largest US study to date on this topic, Published this month in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicinethere is growing evidence that gender-affirming treatments improve children’s mental health. After doing so, the authors of the study determined that “life satisfaction increased and depression and anxiety symptoms decreased.”
At the same time, health professionals are critical of gender-affirming care for young people, particularly the potential long-term health consequences, the ability of minors to consent to important decisions, and the impact on bone and brain development. Seeking more research.
Ann Editorial accompanying the study in the New England Journal of Medicine A study on gender-affirming care concluded that more research is needed, but ultimately, regulators need to weigh these considerations against the benefits experienced by minors receiving hormone therapy. .
What does Utah’s ban mean for transgender children and their families?
A Utah law approved by Gov. Spencer Cox (Republican) on January 28 allows trans minors to take puberty blockers or hormones if they were not diagnosed with a gender identity disorder before the law took effect. It prohibits access to therapy and prohibits all gender-confirming surgery. trans youth.
Minors diagnosed with gender identity disorder before the cutoff date can continue with pubertal block and hormone therapy.
The law also introduces a complete ban on all gender-affirming surgical procedures on minors. — However, many of those listed as restrictions are not actually enforced for anyone under the age of 18 in the state.
Why are states blocking trans-healthcare provisions?
Transgender children and adolescents have received gender-affirming medical care from doctors for years, but only recently has their medical care been politicized.
Republican lawmakers behind the restrictions cite the health and safety of the children involved.
“Our country is witnessing a radical and dangerous move for children to enter this version of health care.” State Senator Mike Kennedy (R), which sponsored the Utah ban, said last week. Cox signed the bill into law, proposed in the statement It can offer time to wait “until more and better studies can help determine long-term results.”
Activists say Utah’s restrictions, like those passed in other states, violate the rights of trans minors and their families, preventing them from getting the medical care they need to live healthy lives. said.
“For many families, having access to a puberty blocker buys them time and gives them a little breathing room to figure out what the next steps are in their child’s treatment journey,” Policy said. Director Marina Lowe said at Equality Utah, the state’s largest LGBTQ rights advocacy group. “That’s what I find harmful and scary,” she added.
“They are very worried and scared and uncertain,” Lowe said of families with transgender children in the state. and that care critical to children’s health will no longer be available,’ is a truly unprecedented step.”
Legal activists plan to challenge the constitutionality of the law. “We cannot allow the state to usurp the role of loving parents and health care professionals,” said the National Center for Lesbian Rights. said in a tweetannounced that it would work with the American Civil Liberties Union to challenge the law. in a letter on fridaythe ACLU described the law as “ridden with many constitutional problems.”
“This story isn’t over,” Rowe said. “The conclusion as to whether the government has the ability to intervene in this way will ultimately be decided by the courts.”
Samantha Schmidt and Spencer S. Hsu contributed to this report.