On Thursday, the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Population Affairs released a document outlining how “gender-affirming care is crucial to overall health and well-being” for children and adolescents. According to the OPA, “gender-affirming care” allows minors to focus on “social transitions” and boosts their confidence while “navigating the healthcare system.” The document was released on March 31, which is “Transgender Day of Visibility.”
In addition, the OPA claimed in the release that “research demonstrates that gender-affirming care improves the mental health and overall well-being of gender diverse children and adolescents. Because gender-affirming care encompasses many facets of healthcare needs and support, it has been shown to increase positive outcomes for transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents.”
In the OPA’s document, it outlined four distinct types of “gender-affirming” care; social affirmation, puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender-affirming surgeries. The first two are listed as “reversible” Hormone therapy is listed as “partially reversible.” Gender-affirming surgeries are listed as “not reversible,” and noted that it typically occurs in adulthood or “case-by-case in adolescence.”
Also on Thursday, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Child Traumatic Stress Network, another branch of the HHS, released a parallel document called “Gender-Affirming Care Is Trauma-Informed Care.”
While the NCTSN’s document is lengthier and more substantive than the OPA’s, it reiterates the same claims as the OPA.
“Providing gender-affirming care is neither child maltreatment nor malpractice,” the NCTSN document states. "It may include evidence-based interventions such as puberty blockers and gender-affirming hormones." It added that “gender-affirming care should not be used to deny care or separate families working to make the best decisions for the children’s well-being.”
In an interview this month with Townhall, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said “the answer is clear regarding so-called sex-change procedures, puberty blockers, and hormone therapies. When performed on children, these procedures are 'abuse' under Texas law. They’re illegal. And family courts, family-law government agencies, and the like must do their part to stop it."
Another state, Idaho, is also pushing legislation that would prohibit “gender-affirming” operations and hormone treatment for minors. Republican state Rep. Bruce Skaug, who sponsored the bill prohibiting such procedures, said to the Idaho House State Affairs Committee that children should undergo mental health treatment rather than irreversible “gender-affirming” treatment.
“If we do not allow minors to get a tattoo, drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, sign a legal contract, why would we allow them to go through these physical mutilations because of their feelings at the time,” he told Boise State Public Radio. “It’s a bill to get proper treatment and to prevent them from lifelong, permanent decisions that will make them sterile and mutilate their bodies.”
Another Idaho GOP state representative, Rep. Marco Erikson, told local outlet KTVB 7 that children are not “cognitively ready” to make irreversible decisions about their bodies and that “parents don’t always make the perfect decision on behalf of their kids.”