The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) are disappointed in the Trump administration’s recent decision to rescind the guidance on the rights of transgender students to use bathrooms based on the gender with which they identify.
NAPNAP is committed to advocacy and promotion of optimal health and well-being for all of our nation’s children and youth.
Protecting the health, well-being and civil rights of transgender children and adolescents in public schools and other facilities remains a top concern for NAPNAP’s members. NAPNAP’s “Health Risks and Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Adolescents Position Statement” clearly states that discriminatory actions can have a profound negative effect on the emotional and physical health of transgender students. This group of children have a strong desire to be treated equally and fit in with their peers and do not want to be singled out and isolated for their differences. Transgender youth are at risk for misunderstanding, victimization and discrimination. Without adequate support, and a positive social climate, transgender youth are at an increased risk for depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and substance abuse. A National Transgender Discrimination Survey revealed that 41 percent of transgendered individuals have attempted suicide which far exceeds the 1.6 percent of the overall U.S. population who have attempted suicide. They are also at an increased risk to experience bullying and violence compared to others.
According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, 150,000 individuals ages 13 to 17 identify as transgender. Rescinding these guidelines, which were set in place last May, potentially exposes transgender youth to increased risk of both emotional and physical harm. Additionally, rescinding the guidelines is a violation of both Title IX and an individual’s Fourteenth Amendment rights.
While this is unfortunate, it also presents pediatric nurse practitioners and their pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurse colleagues a unique opportunity to educate all families on gender awareness and expression, emphasizing that these children need to be treated with sensitivity and compassion. It remains imperative that healthcare professionals continue to advocate for equal treatment and acceptance of transgender children, adolescents and young adults.
Healthcare professionals, teachers, administrators, coaches and parents must be supportive of the social and emotional well-being of children, regardless of their gender expression.