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Pediatricians & Health Care Professionals Speak Out Against Legislation Targeting Trans Youth

by Stephen Peters April 08, 2016

Today, HRC released a new video highlighting health care professionals who are speaking out against dangerous and appalling legislation targeting transgender students – including bills currently pending in Tennessee and South Carolina. As anti-equality activists across the country push for laws targeting transgender youth and adults, these experts – including pediatricians, a social worker, therapist, and family physician – who work with transgender youth and their families are speaking out, challenging harmful myths and stereotypes, and showing their support for transgender youth.

“These healthcare professionals are speaking out because they know better than anyone the very real harm these discriminatory measures inflict on transgender youth,”said Jay Brown, HRC Director of Research and Public Education. “We urge Tennessee’s elected leaders to listen to these experts and take to heart the very real dangers these measures pose.”

“Nowadays, people are fearful and feel like they are challenging their own way of thought, or their own standards or rules or life,” said Dr. Deanna Adkins, a pediatrician in North Carolina. “That is not at all what the youth are trying to do. They just want to be them, and they want to be happy.”

"When kids are affirmed, they learn better, they're able to have better relationships with their peers, they feel more support from their family system and more connected with the people around them," said Heather Newby, a clinical social worker in Missouri.

"Lawmakers introducing bills that make it difficult for trans kids to survive in school or society – it's horrific when that happens,” said Dr. Carolyn Wolf-Gould, a family physician in New York. “We need to support all of our citizens, and make the world safe for these kids."

"Transgender children and transgender people - they're everywhere,” said Dr. Henry Ng, an internist-pediatrician in Ohio. “We see our patients come from all walks of life, from urban areas, from suburban areas, from rural areas – all over."

"I would request that anybody who is making a law that says that you can't use a bathroom, go through a day trying to experience that first before putting that law on somebody else's head," said Linda Hawkins, a psychotherapist in Pennsylvania.

Over the last month, bills with language seeking to make it illegal for transgender youth to use restrooms and other facilities consistent with their gender identity were vetoed in South Dakota, but signed into law in North Carolina – where lawmakers are facing serious backlash. While South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard listened to child welfare organizations, pediatricians, parents, and met with transgender children before deciding to veto an atrocious bill, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory and the state legislature rammed through a measure that, among other discriminatory provisions, includes an appalling attack on transgender students and adults. As a result of North Carolina’s HB2 law, which puts thousands of youth, citizens, employees, and visitors to the state at risk, more than 130 business leaders are calling for a repeal effort during the upcoming legislative session and a number of businesses have begun to remove investments from the state.

Legislation with similar language is also being considered in Tennessee, where advocates and major corporations have have been speaking out urging lawmakers to abandon these vicious bills that are bad for business. Similar discriminatory legislation was also introduced this week in South Carolina, where Gov. Nikki Haley has already expressed her concern about the bill.

Stephen Peters
Stephen Peters


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