In the “things we can’t believe we have to say” category, we appreciate a recent fact check by the Associated Press on gender-affirming care and toddlers.
A recent article published in the Associated Press debunks a map circulating online claiming to show where it’s possible for toddlers to receive gender-affirming surgeries. It was clearly found to be completely false. Surgery under the age of 18 is very rare and is decided on a case by case basis. No toddler is receiving surgeries, nor any form of gender-affirming medical care for that matter.
The map in question actually belongs to transgender rights advocate, Erin Reed, and depicts the states that have the “worst active anti-trans laws” in red and the “safest states” with protections for transgender people in blue. Right-wing extremists took the map to start a disinformation campaign about safer states for transgender young people.
The fact check makes clear that gender affirming surgeries are NOT performed on children, and that, “In all cases, gender affirming surgeries are only performed after multiple discussions with both mental health providers and physicians (including endocrinologists and/or surgeons), to determine if surgery is the appropriate course of action.”
The Associated Press: Toddlers can’t get gender-affirming surgeries, despite claims
By: Philip Marcelo
CLAIM: Map shows the states where it’s possible for a 3-year-old child to receive gender-affirming surgery.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The map shows which states have passed or are considering anti-transgender laws. Children as young as 3 are not qualified to undergo operations to change their gender, medical experts say. Nationally-recognized medical guidelines recommend patients be at least 15 years old to receive the surgeries, and only then in special circumstances.
Medical experts and LGBTQ advocates said, noting that such surgeries aren’t offered until a patient becomes a legal adult, though exceptions are made for minor teens who meet certain criteria.
“The general recommendation is for gender affirming surgeries to be done after age 18 with limited exceptions,” Dr. Michael Irwig, director of transgender medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, wrote in an email. “The patient should always be of an age where they have adequate maturity including the ability to understand the potential risks and benefits of any treatment.”
According to Aryn Fields, a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group based in Washington, D.C. “In all cases, gender affirming surgeries are only performed after multiple discussions with both mental health providers and physicians (including endocrinologists and/or surgeons), to determine if surgery is the appropriate course of action,” she wrote in an email.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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