The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) strongly opposes Alabama’s newly passed law that prohibits health care providers in the state from providing gender-affirming health care to transgender youth under the age of 19 with a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a felony record. Criminalizing evidence-based gender-affirming care detailed in the peer-reviewed Clinical Practice Guideline for Endocrine Treatment of Gender-Dysphoric/Gender-Incongruent Persons and supported by leading organizations including NAPNAP, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Endocrine Society and the American Psychological Association severely jeopardizes the physical and mental wellbeing of the Alabama’s transgender youth.
“According to the National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2021, more than half of transgender or nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the prior year,” said NAPNAP President Dr. Andrea Kline-Tilford. “Laws barring health care experts from providing gender-affirming health care will increase negative mental health outcomes and health inequity for this marginalized and vulnerable youth population.”
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.
During the past year, NAPNAP joined the American Academy of Pediatrics and other leading health care organizations in submitting amicus briefs in the Brandt, et al. v. Rutledge, et al. and Doe, et al. v. Abbott, et al. cases in Arkansas and Texas, respectively. Laws banning access to gender-affirming care 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.
Transgender patients need and deserve access to evidence-based care to optimize their short- and long-term health and well-being. When states like Alabama fail to protect health care access for LGBTQIA+ patients, the court system and/or federal government must intervene. NAPNAP urges other state legislative bodies and government agencies to refrain from passing laws or instituting policies that contradict widely accepted, evidence-based medical science.
April 12, 2022