Doctors agree on need for ‘gender-affirming care’ for trans kids

Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine has dismissed critics of new federal guidelines that recommend “gender-affirming” care for transgender minors — saying no doctor worth their salt opposes it.

“Gender-affirming care” refers to the use of puberty-blockers and hormone therapy on kids and adolescents who identify as transgender.

Levine, who is transgender, made the comments to NPR last week while criticizing states such as Florida and Texas for questioning the practice.

She said such opposition leads to the “harassment, scapegoating and intentional abuse” of transgender kids.

“There is no argument among medical professionals – pediatricians, pediatric endocrinologists, adolescent medicine physicians, adolescent psychiatrists, psychologists, etc. – about the value and importance of gender-affirming care,” Levine told NPR.

Her comments came after Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo pushed back on the federally recommended practice when his office published opposing new guidelines last month.

Florida Surgeon Gen.  Dr.  Joseph A. Ladapo,
Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo speaks at a news conference with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Jan. 3, 2022.
AP/Wilfredo Lee

Ladapo said kids experiencing gender dysphoria should get counseling rather than medical intervention, arguing that a high percentage of the youth eventually lose their desire to change sexes.

Levine dismissed Ladopo’s stance in the NPR interview and said he was motivated by political rather than medical imperatives.

She asserted that Ladopo’s recent guidance was not supported by the preponderance of the medical community.

Levine, the highest-ranking transgender member of government, added that Florida’s actions are causing suicidal thoughts among transgender youth.

protesters
“Gender-affirming care” refers to the use of puberty-blockers and hormone therapy on kids who identify as transgender.
AP/Robin Rayne

“The language of medicine and science is being used to drive people to suicide,” she said.

But Florida officials again rejected her framing Monday and pointed to a letter penned by a group of doctors questioning the use of medical procedures on transgender youth.

“The State Surgeon General believes that the guidance and fact check speak for themselves,” rep Jeremy Redfern said in a statement. “The burden of proof to support the outlandish claims made in NPR falls on Dr. Levine.”

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