We are absolutely delighted to be able to report that HB1057 in South Dakota, a bill which sought to ban professionals from providing medical care to trans youth, has been killed. The bill would have made providing certain forms of gender affirming medical care, including the prescription of puberty blockers, a class four felony. In South Dakota, which carries a prison sentence of 10 years.
We want to extend our congratulations to all of the advocates who worked around the clock to defeat this dangerous bill, but the fight is far from over. No doubt attention will now turn to the other seven States in which bills seeking to limit transgender healthcare for minors have been introduced.
Whatever the outcome, it is imperative that as medical professionals we work together to ensure future challenges can be tackled head on. The healthcare of trans youth cannot be the subject of political debate. Next time we may not be so lucky. For more information about how to support trans youth visit our Help Centre.
My name is Dr Helen Webberley and I am from the UK. I want to openly state that whatever the outcome is of today’s (10.02.20) bill, I stand with you and all those doctors who are bold enough and brave enough to fight for the rights of trans adolescents, who refuse to get swept up in the hysteria or be silenced with threats. The trans community needs our help now, more than ever.
Five years ago I started what has become an international online service aimed at providing medical and psychological support to transgender patients, who were struggling to access the care they needed from their own country’s health service.
Since then I have experienced many barriers and hurdles. Not from the trans community themselves, but from those involved with gatekeeping access to healthcare for this vulnerable group. I myself have been targeted despite my services alleviating suffering and providing essential care.
If the first commandment of care for any doctor is to ‘Do No Harm’, how can administering treatment which has been proven to alleviate suffering, be a criminal offence? How is it that the political agenda is overruling the fundamental principle at the core of good ethical healthcare? It begs the question: What will be next?
Such is the force of those behind the anti-trans lobby that the boards of directors of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), its US chapter (USPATH) and its European chapter (EPATH) recently felt compelled to release a statement openly supporting the use of interventions for trans youth.
In its ‘Statement in Response to Calls for Banning Evidence-Based Supportive Health Interventions for Transgender and Gender-Diverse Youth’ the position that is adopted in modern, forward thinking medical centres across the world, is very clearly outlined:
‘Clinical guidelines for youth experiencing an incongruence between their gender identity and sex assigned at birth have been published, are widely used nationally, and are based on the current evidence. These guidelines support the use of interventions for appropriately assessed minors.’
‘The best interests of the child are always paramount for any responsible licensed provider.’
Puberty blockers and gender-affirming hormones are identified by both WPATH and The Endocrine Society as safe and evidenced-based treatments for gender affirmation, to deny these to patients is a backward step in human equality.
How then, if this is the advice of leading medical experts, can any court of law find the doctor administering this care guilty of anything other than best practise?
I have seen first hand the anguish and damage that a delay in accessing the right treatment can cause to young people, and those who are trying their very best to support them.
This is not just a political issue, it is also a matter of life and death.
Should the outcome be such that you are forced, against your moral stance, to stop treating trans youth, there should be no judgment levied against you. But please know that there are people and organisations, such as ours, around the world willing to step in and help in any way they can.