The medical community’s move to reclassify gender dysphoria as a condition that results in distress rather than a mental disorder has been instrumental in destigmatizing transgender people. However, state laws that aim to strip physicians of their ability to prescribe gender-affirming care, along with physicians’ refusal to comply with federal regulations requiring access to gender-affirming care, threaten to undo those gains. Opponents of gender-affirming care attempt to wield the concept of medical judgment as both a sword and a shield—preventing physicians from exercising their medical judgment to provide gender-affirming care while simultaneously allowing physicians to abstain from providing it. Although the available research does not point to any one specific mode of treatment that is perfect for everyone, there is a consensus in the medical community that family acceptance and access to care are critical for the mental health of children experiencing gender dysphoria. Although lawmakers should ultimately leave a patient’s specific course of treatment to physicians who specialize in gender-affirming care, the legal community can still play a vital role by removing barriers that limit access to care.
First, Do No Harm: Prioritizing Patients Over Politics in the Battle Over Gender-Affirming Care,
Ga. St. U. L. Rev.
Available at: https://readingroom.law.gsu.edu/gsulr/vol39/iss2/11