ICYMI: The American Psychological Association Strongly Condemns Legislative Attacks on Healthcare for Transgender People & Emphasizes the Danger of Wide-Spread Misinformation Against LGBTQ+ Youth

by Aneesha Pappy

APA’s declaration follows the tragic death of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old non-binary student of Choctaw heritage in Oklahoma, who was brutally attacked in a school restroom

WASHINGTON— Yesterday, the American Psychological Association (APA) released a statement addressing the dangerous attacks on health care for transgender people taking place in state legislatures across the country as well as the harmful misinformation perpetuated by these anti-LGBTQ+ efforts. The statement highlights the crucial role gender-affirming care plays for transgender and non-binary individuals, reinforcing that this care is necessary and founded on credible, science-based evidence. The association states that bans and restrictions on gender-affirming care have direct, harmful consequences, threatening the emotional well-being and safety of LGBTQ+ youth, exacerbating the risks of negative mental health outcomes.

The letter comes as state legislatures across the U.S. continue to introduce and pass legislation that prohibits age appropriate, medically necessary, and life-saving health care for transgender youth. More than 30 states introduced these bans last year, with 22 states enacting them into law. Ohio became the most recent state to impose a ban last month.

APA’s declaration also follows the tragic death of Nex Benedict, a 16-year-old non-binary student of Choctaw heritage in Oklahoma, who was brutally attacked in a school restroom. The incident accompanies a culture of violent and hateful rhetoric aimed at LGBTQ+ inclusion in Oklahoma’s schools, often perpetuated by the state’s superintendent of public instruction, Ryan Walters. Walters, who has a record of making inflammatory remarks and discriminatory policies, has doubled-down on peddling anti-LGBTQ+ stigma in the weeks since Nex’s death.

Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson released the following statement:

“Attacks on healthcare for transgender people are shameful, dangerous and directly contradict the scientific, evidence-based advice of major medical associations like the American Psychological Association. The continued attacks on LGBTQ+ youth and their access to necessary, life-saving medical care show just how dire this state of emergency has become for the LGBTQ+ community,” said HRC President Kelley Robinson. “The disturbing misinformation being spewed by anti-LGBTQ+ politicians has real life consequences. The bullying, violence and animosity created by these lies cost Nex Benedict their life. Combating these anti-LGBTQ+ falsehoods are crucial in guaranteeing the safety of our children and we must continue to fight back against these attempts to undermine our basic rights.”

TOPLINES: The APA calls for legislative intervention against restrictions on gender-affirming care and reinforces their continued support of LGBTQ+ youth:

  • “The American Psychological Association (APA) steadfastly supports evidence-based clinical care for all children, adolescents, and adults inclusive of gender identity and expression.”

  • “The APA opposes state bans on gender-affirming care, which are contrary to the principles of evidence-based healthcare, human rights, and social justice, and which should be reconsidered in favor of policies that prioritize the well-being and autonomy of transgender, gender-diverse, and nonbinary individuals.”

  • “The APA opposes efforts to obstruct access to evidence-based interventions for children, adolescents, and adults, advocating for inclusive healthcare coverage without gender-based discrimination.”

  • “The APA emphasizes the importance of psychological and medical care from an intersectional perspective, which takes into consideration the many facets of an individual’s experience and provides services that are anti-discriminatory in all areas including opposing racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, religious, and gender-based discrimination.”

  • “The APA urges support for policies facilitating access to comprehensive, gender-affirming healthcare for children, adolescents, and adults, recognizing the positive impact on mental health outcomes.”

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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