Get the Facts on Gender-Affirming Care

Produced by the HRC Foundation

Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. But across the country, politicians desperate to gain or hold onto power and their allies in the media are attacking LGBTQ+ people and making it impossible for LGBTQ+ youth – particularly transgender and non-binary youth --to be their authentic selves. Bills in statehouses across the country aim to take away access to gender-affirming care -- medically necessary, safe, health care backed by decades of research and supported by every major medical association representing over 1.3 million US doctors. And some even accuse parents of transgender children who want to transition of child abuse.

Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.

But politicians who don’t have an ounce of medical training are interfering with the rights of parents and acting as if they know how to raise and support children better than their parents and doctors do. And they are pouring gasoline on a wildfire, as the epidemic of violence perpetrated against transgender and gender non-conforming people--especially Black transgender women of color in America, continues.

When reporting on issues related to transgender and gender non-conforming people, please use the Human Rights Campaign’s Brief Guide to Getting Transgender Coverage Right, to ensure inclusive and accurate coverage. And please look at the Human Rights Campaign’s explainer video about gender-affirming care, featuring HRC staff speaking to the importance of this life-saving care while dismantling common misconceptions about what it is and is not. That video can be viewed here.

As attacks on the LGBTQ+ community continue to gain steam, it is important to get the facts about gender-affirming care.

Every credible medical organization – representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States – calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people.

  • “Transition-related” or “gender-affirming” care looks different for every transgender and non-binary person. 
  • Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.
Gender transition is a personal process that can include changing clothes, names, and hairstyles to fit a person’s gender identity.
  • Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions are their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor.
  • Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time that are in the best interest of the child.
In most young children, this care can be entirely social. This means:
  • New name
  • New hairstyle
  • New clothing
  • None of this care is irreversible.

Being transgender is not new.

  • Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new – but that’s because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years.
  • But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass.
  • And very few transgender people change their mind.

ALL gender-affirming care is:

  • Age-appropriate
  • Medically necessary
  • Supported by all major medical organizations
  • Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents

And in many cases, this care is lifesaving!

  • A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this — transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide.
The Human Rights Campaign reports on news, events and resources of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation that are of interest to the general public and further our common mission to support the LGBTQ+ community.