Fiction vs. Fact Setting the Record Straight on Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth

We’ve all seen what’s on the news and on social media about LGBTQ+ people lately. Misinformation, disinformation and misunderstandings about who we are, what we want, and how we live seem to be everywhere. Nowhere is this more visible than when we’re talking about LGBTQ+ young people — especially trans and non-binary youth. Whether you’re a parent of a trans or non-binary teen who is trying to help your young one grow into their best self, or figuring out how you can be an ally, we all know how much harder it is to navigate these issues than ever before.


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We’ve got your backs. Let’s separate fact from fiction when it comes to trans and non-binary youth:



“Gender-affirming care is detrimental to children’s mental health.”

When trans people receive age-appropriate, best-practice health care, including puberty blockers and gender-affirming hormones, they have 60% lower odds of moderate or severe depression and 73% lower odds of suicidality within the following 12 months.

“Gender-affirming care is permanent.”

For most — especially young people — “gender-affirming care” could mean something as simple as a haircut or a different nickname. For others, it might mean best-practice medical care that follows clear guidelines set up by WPATH. No matter what, every step of the way, a youth or teen’s parents and their doctor are right there.

“Parents are being cut out of the decision-making process with trans youth.”

Doctors work with parents and their youth together to determine what is the best and safest option for the individual. At no point is any young person given treatment without their parents’ knowledge and consent.

“Nobody could know so young that they are transgender.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign 2023 Youth Study, the average age transgender and gender-expansive youth realize they are something other than cisgender is 12.5 years old. Over half (58.6%) realize they are not cisgender before they are 13 years old, and 4.3% realize when they are younger than five. Studies also show that children as young as 2 years old can begin recognizing the idea of gender groups. Youth know what is happening with their bodies and minds — even as they navigate society’s narrow view of gender — and they deserve to receive the age-appropriate care needed to help them in their journey.

“Being transgender is just a fad.”

Around 300,000 youth in the United States identify as trans or non-binary – equivalent to half the population of Wyoming! In total, about 1.6 million people in the U.S. are transgender. Trans people have existed as long as people have existed, and they are not going away. The earliest examples we have of transgender people are from between 5000 and 3000 BCE — Gala, described as androgynous or transgender priests of the Sumerian goddess Inanna, spoke their own dialect and took on feminine names.

“The science isn’t settled.”

Every single major medical organization, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the American Psychiatric Association, support providing best-practice, age-appropriate health care for transgender and non-binary youth. These organizations represent millions of doctors, researchers and mental health professionals in the United States.


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It’s simple: Gender-affirming healthcare is safe, backed by science, and life-saving. To learn how to take action to support transgender people, visit HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative.