As a health care provider for children and a resident of Burke County, I want to express my opposition to the transgender bill co-sponsored by our state senator, Warren Daniel.
This announcement, Senate Bill 514, appeared on page 3 in the April 07 edition of The News Herald. Mr. Daniel has joined other Republican lawmakers across the country whose goal is to deny health care to transgender adolescents. This NC bill essentially “threatens” health care providers with fines and/or loss of medical licensure for providing gender-affirming care or referrals. In addition, state employees will be required to notify parents if they suspect a child is exhibiting nonconforming behaviors. Do these lawmakers really understand the consequences of their actions? According to the CDC, about 2% of high school students identify as transgender and 35% have reported suicide attempts. However, when adolescents receive gender-affirming medications, the risk of suicide drops by 70%.
As a pediatrician who welcomes and supports LGBTQ patients, I view these transgender legislative measures as an intrusion in the doctor-patient relationship. The oath I have taken to my patients is to “do no harm.” If this bill becomes law in NC, I may be accused of criminal activity because of following my duty to care for them.
No law is going to “convert” transgender adolescents and young adults to a cisgender identity. Have children and teens not suffered enough from isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic? Is this bill in the best interest of children’s mental health needs? Of course, it is not. Child advocates in other states are also dealing with lawmakers who are attempting to ban transgender athletes from sports competition. As a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, I urge my health care colleagues to voice their opposition to these harmful and discriminatory laws.