Policy Statement on Access to Gender-Affirming Healthcare


Diversity of gender identity and expression represent normal and expectable dimensions of human development and may vary across cultures. Health promotion for all youth encourages open exploration of all identity topics, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression according to recognized practice guidelines. Research consistently demonstrates that gender diverse youth who are supported to explore and/or live the gender role that is consistent with their gender identity have better mental health outcomes than those who are not. Relatedly, youth may manifest psychological symptoms in response to rejection, bias, and discrimination inflicted upon them. Gender affirming care incorporates these specific principles and promotes highly individualized supportive interventions focused on self-awareness, resilience, coping, and wellness without privileging any outcomes other than improved functioning and mental health. It also implements evidence-based practices to address gender-related distress or dysphoria.

To ensure healthy development of all children, adolescents, and their families, including transgender and gender-diverse youth and families, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry endorses the primacy of the patient-physician relationship and:

  • Recommends that all children and adolescents have access to multi-disciplinary, evidence-based, and trauma-informed gender-affirming health care,
  • Recommends that youth and their families formulate an individualized treatment plan with their clinician that is developmentally thoughtful and addresses the youth’s unique mental health needs, regardless of gender identity or expression,
  • Strongly opposes any efforts – legal, legislative, and otherwise – to block access to the recognized interventions for gender diverse youth, and
  • Supports funding for continued research on the evidence-base for and efficacy of gender-affirming care in addressing gender-related stress or dysphoria.


The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry promotes the healthy development of children, adolescents, and families through advocacy, education, and research. Child and adolescent psychiatrists are the leading physician authority on children’s mental health.

Approved by Council June 2024