US Psychological Association Backs Gender-affirming Care for Transgender Youth


The American Psychological Association (APA) has adopted a landmark policy supporting evidence-based care for transgender, gender diverse and nonbinary children, adolescents and adults.

It has also warned that recent legislative attempts to obstruct access to psychological and medical interventions for such individuals puts them at risk of depression, anxiety and other negative mental health outcomes.

Several US states have in recent months moved to limit or ban gender-affirming care particularly for young people.

Inclusivity and Dignity

“The adoption of this resolution reaffirms APA’s dedication to promoting inclusivity, dignity and access to quality healthcare for all individuals, regardless of their gender identity or expression,” said APA President Cynthia de las Fuentes, PhD.

“It sends a clear message that state bans on gender-affirming care disregard the comprehensive body of medical and psychological research supporting the positive impact of such treatments in alleviating psychological distress and improving overall well-being for transgender, gender diverse and nonbinary individuals throughout their lives,” asserted de las Fuentes.

The policy, titled Policy Statement on Affirming Evidence-Based Inclusive Care for Transgender, Gender Diverse, and Nonbinary Individuals, Addressing Misinformation, and the Role of Psychological Practice and Science was approved by APA’s governing Council of Representatives at its meeting on 24 February. The vote was 153-9 with one abstention.

The APA is the world’s largest psychological association, with more than 150,000 members.

Gender Diversity Has Existed Throughout History

Importantly, the association affirms in the policy that gender diversity has been present throughout history and that gender-based bias and mistreatment (e.g., discrimination,
violence, non-affirmation, or rejection in response to gender diversity) “pose significant harm, including risk of suicide, to the well-being of children, adolescents, adults, and families.”

In the policy, the APA condemns the spread of misleading and unfounded narratives that mischaracterise gender dysphoria and affirming care, likely resulting in further stigmatisation, marginalisation, and lack of access to psychological and medical supports for transgender, gender diverse, and nonbinary individuals.

“Misinformation further creates distress and confusion for families and loved ones of transgender, gender-diverse, and nonbinary individuals, as they make decisions about their healthcare,” states the association.

Evidence-Based Health Care a Fundamental Right

The resolution also calls for health insurance plans to extend coverage for health care services tailored to the developmental needs of children, adolescents, and adults identifying as transgender, gender diverse or nonbinary, encompassing both psychological and medical gender-affirming care.

“We believe that access to evidence-based health care is a fundamental right for everyone, and this policy reflects our commitment to promoting social justice and equity in health care,” said de las Fuentes. “

The APA also affirmed the essential role and legal rights of parents and caregivers to ensure the well-being of children and adolescents while honouring their expressed gender identity, including being involved in healthcare decision-making, and supporting developmentally appropriate youth self-advocacy.

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