The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) strongly opposes the actions this week by Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that threaten the health and well-being of transgender youth by falsely vilifying the dedicated pediatric health care providers who care for this vulnerable group of young people with unique health needs. Issuing a non-binding legal opinion that gender-affirming health care is child abuse and directing the Department of Family and Protective Services to investigate pediatric expert clinicians who provide gender-affirming care causes unnecessary fear and harm to families seeking health services in the best interest of their adolescents.
“Pediatric-focused nurse practitioners and our fellow pediatric clinicians provide transgender health care based on the Endocrine Society’s Clinical Practice Guideline for Endocrine Treatment of Gender-Dysphoric/Gender-Incongruent Persons (CPG) which was developed following extensive interprofessional collaboration with nationally regarded experts,” said NAPNAP President Dr. Andrea Kline-Tilford. “This is the gold standard of peer-reviewed, evidence-based gender-affirming care and supported by leading organizations including NAPNAP, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Endocrine Society and the American Psychological Association.”
In its position statement Health Risks and Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth, NAPNAP opposes all forms of discrimination against individuals based on sexual orientation, gender conformity and gender identity, while encouraging pediatric clinicians and advocates to speak out against discrimination and/or victimization of LGBTQIA+ youth. Further, it recommends that health care providers, as well as the health care environment, should support and promote an LGBTQIA+ safe space for all youth and an atmosphere of acceptance to facilitate health care interactions.
In June 2021, NAPNAP joined the American Academy of Pediatrics and other organizations in submitting an amicus brief in the Arkansas gender-affirming care case, Brandt, et al. v. Rutledge, et al. Directives banning access to gender-affirming care, such as those in Texas and Arkansas are in conflict with our patient-centered position that pediatric health care is best delivered to youth in an individualized manner with a focus on health promotion and risk reduction.
Dr. Andrea Kline-Tilford states, “We have unique provider-patient relationships built on trust with a keen focus on the physical and mental health well-being of our patients. Criminalizing our care is detrimental to our patients and a significant step back in medical science.”
NAPNAP strongly urges Texas leaders to rescind directives barring Texas’ health care experts from providing gender-affirming health care to prevent negative health outcomes for transgender youth and improve health equity.