NC Advocates, Doctors Speak Out Against Ban on Gender-Affirming Care
Thursday, May 11, 2023
In North Carolina, advocates and health care professionals are voicing their opposition to recent medical care restrictions they call legislative attacks on the LGBTQ+ community.
The House rules committee approved House Bill 808, legislation limiting the access of transgender youths to gender-affirming care. Initially, the bill proposed a complete ban on all gender-affirming care, but it eventually passed as a restriction on gender-transition surgeries for minors.
Kendra R. Johnson, executive director of Equality North Carolina, said the measure action ignores the recommendations of medical experts and prevents individuals from making personal choices.
"You go to professionals every day because you trust that they study, they understand market standards," Johnson pointed out. "The legislature, which does not have a significant number of medical professionals, is overstepping the bounds of what they should be covering."
Although supporters of the bill claim it is necessary to safeguard children from making irreversible choices about their bodies, more than 450 North Carolina doctors and mental health providers have signed a letter objecting to the ban.
In the letter, health care providers assert their deep commitment to upholding an informed relationship between patients and providers when it comes to accessing lifesaving, gender-affirming care.
Furthermore, Johnson asserted the bill does not just strip away crucial care; it exacerbates an already challenging situation for transgender youths.
"Trans folks already face a lot of discrimination in health care, even when they are seeking care for, say, a broken bone, diabetes," Johnson noted. "We have a lot of refusal to provide care for basic health care coverage."
Johnson emphasized now more than ever, the need for increased mental health resources and supportive groups for transgender youths in the state is growing.
She added even under the current ban, children can still access hormone treatments. According to the Williams Institute at the University of California-Los Angeles, gender-affirming care has been restricted or under consideration in 30 states, putting approximately 150,000 transgender youths at risk of losing their access to care.
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