The dangers of criminalizing medical care for trans youth

By | February 8, 2020

Stoneleigh Fellow Nadia Dowshen penned an op-ed for The Hill on the dangers of criminalizing medical care for youth who identify as transgender.

In the past month, at least six states have introduced bills to charge doctors with a felony for providing medical and surgical treatment to transgender youth. The bills’ titles appear to suggest they will protect vulnerable children, when in fact, they may accomplish the opposite.

I am a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where I co-founded a clinic that provides medical care and psychosocial support to more than 1,400 transgender youth. I know firsthand what legislation like this could mean for my patients and the more than 1  percent of U.S. youth who identify as transgender or gender-diverse. It would mean that youth in these states could no longer get lifesaving medications and surgeries. It would also send a signal to trans youth everywhere that affirming their identity can and should be illegal — further amplifying the stigma and discrimination these individuals already face.

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