For Immediate Release
Contact: Rob Grant, Communications Director
202.966.7300, Ext. 119
AACAP Statement Opposing Actions in Texas Threatening the Health, Mental Health and Well-Being of Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth and Their Families
Washington, DC, March 1, 2022 – The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) supports the healthy development of all children, adolescents, and their families, including transgender and gender-diverse youth and families.
Recent state attacks on gender-affirming support and care for transgender and gender-diverse youth endanger the welfare of many young people across the country. These attacks undermine the right of parents and caregivers to access evidence-based and developmentally appropriate treatment. The goal of gender-affirming care is to help children and adolescents understand their gender as one facet of their identity while building resilience and increasing family and social supports. Attempts to criminalize gender-affirming care deprive youth and families of treatment and endanger the physician-patient-caregiver relationship, which is the foundation of pediatric healthcare. The allocation of scarce child protective services to these efforts further endangers youth who actually require those important services. Gender-affirming care is not child abuse.
Variations in gender expression are not pathological; rather, they represent normal dimensions of human development. All youth and families benefit from access to professional support and information about gender development. Gender-affirming care is informed by long-standing standards of care and by evidence-based clinical studies supporting improved mental health and health outcomes for youth. For transgender and gender-diverse youth, family and social supports have improved mental health outcomes and functioning, and for some, medical treatment may be necessary. AACAP has strongly advocated for gender-affirming evidence-based care and vehemently opposes efforts to block access to care.
So many youth and families across the United States are experiencing mental health crises during a national children’s mental health emergency. Marginalized youth, including transgender and gender-diverse youth, are particularly vulnerable to higher rates of mental health conditions, including suicidality.
Child and adolescent psychiatrists, pediatricians, and child welfare professionals share a common mission: protecting and promoting the health and well-being of all children. Policymakers who share this goal must seek solutions that safeguard the safety and health of America’s youth, respect the clinical decision-making of licensed pediatric healthcare professionals, and promote health equity for children across all child-facing systems of care.
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. For more information, please visit www.aacap.org