Announcement on Anti-Trans Legislation
On April 6th, 2021, Arkansas overrode a veto from the governor to pass Act 626--which banned gender-affirming treatments for transgender youth. Arkansas was only one of 33 states in 2021 that have altogether introduced over 100 bills intended to interfere with the rights of trans individuals. These bills aim to ban gender-affirming treatment, forbid trans students from participating in sports, require teachers to refer to students using their biological sex, and prohibit discussion of LGBTQ issues at school.
Proponents claim that gender-affirming treatments are dangerous and not evidenced-based. Alan Clark, the state senate sponsor of the Arkansas bill, criticized that puberty blockers and hormone treatments are “at best experimental and at worst a serious threat to a child’s welfare.”
However, medical expert groups and studies say otherwise. Most professional societies---the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Endocrine Society---espouse the efficacy of these treatments at improving the wellbeing of trans youth. A National Institute of Health (NIH) prospective study that began in 2015 found that earlier gender-affirming treatment leads to better overall mental health. Given that nearly 1 in 3 trans youth attempt suicide in a given year, this new wave of anti-trans legislation poses an increased threat to an already marginalized community.
Our AAPI communities would also be devastated by these laws. Research from the Trevor Project, a non-profit addressing suicide prevention in LGBTQ youth, demonstrates that AAPI trans and non-binary youth are at 3 times the risk for attempting suicide compared to their cisgender peers. In 2020 alone, the organization served around 9,000 AAPI LGBTQ individuals. Another study reported that 54.7% of AAPI LGBTQ students have experienced harassment or assault due to their gender expression, and 82.3% have heard negative remarks about transgender people at school.
These chilling statistics remind us that there is more work to be done. APAMSA opposes these discriminatory laws that would severely undermine the well-being of trans individuals and their loved ones in AAPI communities and beyond. In medical education, we can advocate to our school leaders for more curricular resources and educational events concerning the foundational importance of gender affirming care. At our various institutions, we can work to establish clear, confidential pathways for transgender individuals to report mistreatment and discrimination. On a policy level, we can fight for local, state, and federal governments to recognize trans rights as human rights. We stand with the trans and nonbinary members of APAMSA and urge all our members and allies to show solidarity and advocate for the trans community in this ongoing fight against injustice and discrimination.
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