Medical leaders call on Scott and lawmakers to denounce restrictions to gender care

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Medical leaders call on Scott and lawmakers to denounce restrictions to gender care

Fri, 04/16/2021 - 6:57am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine The American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter and University of Vermont Children’s Hospital, joined by the Vermont Medical Society, Vermont Academy of Family Physicians, Vermont Psychiatric Association, Vermont American Academy of Emergency Physicians and the Physician Assistant Academy of Vermont denounce the large number of legislative proposals throughout the nation that will harm transgender and gender diverse youth. Every individual is entitled to high quality evidence-based medical care regardless of gender or sexual orientation. These proposals drive discrimination, reinforce stigma and create barriers to care.

We are thankful to provide care in a state that has routinely recognized the rights of young people, the rights of LGBTQ identified persons and the autonomy of medical providers, but we know we are not immune to attacks on access to care for transgender and gender diverse Vermonters.  We call on Governor Scott and the Vermont General Assembly to support full access to gender care and oppose any proposals that would:

  • Limit access to evidence-based medical and psychological care

  • Prevent youth from playing sports alongside their peers.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that youth who identify as transgender have access to comprehensive, gender-affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care that is provided in a safe and inclusive clinical space. We also recommend that playing on sports teams helps youth develop self-esteem, correlates positively with overall mental health, and appears to have a protective effect against suicide.” (AAP Speaks Out Against Bills Harming Transgender Youth)

Every major medical association in the United States recognizes the medical necessity of transition-related care for improving the physical and mental health of transgender people.  We stand with our national colleagues in the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the National Education Association,  and numerous other major health, education and child welfare organizations that signed on to a statement drafted by the Human Rights Campaign opposing these bills.

Transgender youth face many obstacles and barriers to their mental health and well-being.  A statement published by the American Medical Association states, “Transgender minors also face a significantly heightened risk of suicide. But research has demonstrated that improved body satisfaction and self-esteem following the receipt of gender-affirming care is protective against poorer mental health and supports healthy relationships with parents and peers. Studies also demonstrate dramatic reductions in suicide attempts, as well as decreased rates of depression and anxiety.”

A Vermont parent of a transgender youth speaks with intimate experience - “Being 13 is difficult enough, you don't feel comfortable in your own skin either physically or metaphorically. Gender affirming care means that my son sees his health care providers as allies and valuable resources. It means that he is empowered to feel comfortable taking good care of the body he has while looking forward joyfully to the body he wants; knowing that his health care providers are fully invested in helping him get there. It means that he has the space and resources to attend to his mental health with absolutely no shame. It means that his family does not live in fear that our beloved boy will become part of the statistics of trans kids who attempt suicide.  Gender affirming health care is a human right. Everyone deserves to walk through this world comfortable in their own skin.”

As physicians and health care leaders in Vermont, we believe that medical decisions belong to transgender and gender diverse youth, their parents and their health care practitioners.  We oppose any efforts for legislative interference in this decision making, and we call on legislators across the country to reject these harmful measures.

We vow to continue to support gender diverse young people, their families, their communities and their care teams and invite others to join us in this commitment.

Sincerely,        

Rebecca Bell, M.D., FAAP                   Lewis First, M.D., FAAP                    Erica Gibson, M.D., FAAP
President                                               Chief of Pediatrics                               Medical Director                  
AAP Vermont Chapter                         UVM Children’s Hospital                    Transgender Youth Program
                                                                                                                        UVM Children’s Hospital

Simha Ravven, M.D.                            Katie Marvin, M.D.                             Joe Lasek, M.D.
President                                               President                                            President
Vermont Medical Society                     VT Academy of Family Physicians     Vermont Psychiatric Association

Ryan Sexton, M.D.                              Sarah Bushweller, PA-C
President                                             President
VT Emergency Physicians                  Physician Assistant Academy of VT

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, there is help available.

·       Trevor Project: 866-488-7386
·       Trans Life Line: 877-565-8860
·       Vermont Crisis Text Line: 741741
·       Vermont Crisis Lines

Source: MONTPELIER (April 15, 2021) American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter