Leading U.S. pediatricians oppose transgender bathroom bill

April 22, 2016

(HealthDay)—North Carolina's new transgender bathroom law will harm already vulnerable children, says a leading group of U.S. pediatricians that wants the law repealed.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) this week joined other professional groups and business leaders in urging repeal of the , which requires transgender people to use bathrooms and locker rooms that match the gender on their birth certificate.

"As pediatricians, we know firsthand how increasing burdens and barriers for youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) can increase their risk of depression, substance abuse, dropping out of school, or suicide," said Dr. Deborah Ainsworth, president of the AAP North Carolina Chapter.

"The law can also have unintentional consequences for born with gender-related genetic disorders, children with disabilities who may need a different sex parent to help them in the restroom, and children who find themselves homeless due to lack of support for their gender identities," she added in an academy news release.

The bill signed by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory in March and similar bills introduced in other states this year fail to meet children's most basic needs of validation and protection, explained Dr. Karen Remley, executive director and chief executive officer of the AAP.

"Pediatricians in North Carolina and across the country know what children need: They need the stability and support of nurturing adults, they need the acceptance and compassion of their peers and community, and they need to feel safe where they live and where they learn," Remley said in the news release.

Such support, said Ainsworth, can buffer all young people—especially LGBT youth—from negative experiences and outcomes while promoting positive health and well-being.

"We all have a fundamental responsibility to support and nurture children and adolescents to ensure that they can grow and develop into healthy adults," Ainsworth said.

This type of law sends "a distressing message to transgender youth and can worsen the challenges many already face," she concluded.

Transgender teens are already more likely than others to be victims of violence, bullying and harassment, Remley said. The North Carolina law and similar measures elsewhere exacerbate those risks by creating hostile environments for transgender youth, she explained, "all implying the same message: 'You're different, something is wrong with you, you need to change in order to fit in here.'

"The message some public leaders have chosen is not the message we should be telling transgender children and teens," Remley added.

"The message of the American Academy of Pediatrics to transgender youth is this: We support you, and we will speak up for you. And so today, we do," Remley said. "We urge the governor of North Carolina and all other states considering similar measures to reconsider and repeal these harmful policies, and in so doing, stand up for transgender children."

Explore further: Transgender children supported in their identities show positive mental health

More information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on LGBT health.

Related Stories

Transgender children supported in their identities show positive mental health

February 26, 2016
Studies of mental health among transgender people in the United States have been consistently grim, showing higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.

Psychiatric diagnoses in young transgender women

March 21, 2016
About 41 percent of young transgender women had one or more mental health or substance dependence diagnoses and nearly 1 in 5 had two or more psychiatric diagnoses in a study of participants enrolled in a human immunodeficiency ...

Study sheds light on LGBT youth and homelessness

July 9, 2015
ouths, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, experience many similar issues leading to homelessness, but providers of homeless youth services indicate some of these issues are exacerbated for youths who ...

Are transgender individuals fit to serve in the military?

February 16, 2016
A new study shows that transgender active-duty U.S. military personnel report few lifetime mental and physical health problems. These findings challenge the current policy of excluding transgender persons from enlisting in ...

Study to focus on HIV prevention and care for transgender and gender nonconforming youth

November 9, 2015
The University of Michigan is leading a national study to learn more about how transgender and gender nonconforming youth navigate the health care system for HIV prevention services and care.

Recommended for you

Stress in pregnancy linked to changes in infant's nervous system, less smiling, less resilience

November 23, 2017
Maternal stress during the second trimester of pregnancy may influence the nervous system of the developing child, both before and after birth, and may have subtle effects on temperament, resulting in less smiling and engagement, ...

Molecules in spit may be able to diagnose and predict length of concussions

November 20, 2017
Diagnosing a concussion can sometimes be a guessing game, but clues taken from small molecules in saliva may be able to help diagnose and predict the duration of concussions in children, according to Penn State College of ...

Breastfed babies are less likely to have eczema as teenagers, study shows

November 13, 2017
Babies whose mothers had received support to breastfeed exclusively for a sustained period from birth have a 54% lower risk of eczema at the age of 16, a new study led by researchers from King's College London, Harvard University, ...

Obesity during pregnancy may lead directly to fetal overgrowth, study suggests

November 13, 2017
Obesity during pregnancy—independent of its health consequences such as diabetes—may account for the higher risk of giving birth to an atypically large infant, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health. ...

Working to reduce brain injury in newborns

November 10, 2017
Research-clinicians at Children's National Health System led the first study to identify a promising treatment to reduce or prevent brain injury in newborns who have suffered hypoxia-ischemia, a serious complication in which ...

Why do some kids die under dental anesthesia?

November 9, 2017
Anesthesiologists call for more research into child deaths caused by dental anesthesia in an article published online by the journal Pediatrics.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.