Spate of bills targeting access to trans healthcare is ‘staggering,’ says Seattle pediatrician

Apr 10, 2022, 7:58 AM | Updated: 8:07 am
State Rep. Neil Rafferty, the only openly gay member of the Alabama Legislature, speaks during a debate on transgender youth bills during a legislative session in Montgomery, Ala., on Thursday, April 7, 2022 (AP)

In states all across the U.S., just in the first four months of 2022 alone, there have been nearly 240 bills that target the LGBTQ community, and the majority of them take aim at trans people.

Trans kids fear Alabama laws targeting medicine, bathrooms

Thursday, Alabama outlawed gender-affirming medications for transgender youth. Earlier this year, Texas passed a law that would allow state authorities to investigate gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth as child abuse. But as one Seattle pediatrician notes, the conversation around trans rights is often framed from the perspective of politicians or media personalities, and not the medical community or trans people themselves.

“It’s first important to separate [gender] from sex assigned at birth. When we have a baby that’s delivered, there’s a decision made about the sex of that baby. Gender, however, is different. Gender is the way someone views their own identity as either male or female,” Dr. Gina Sequeira, Co-Director of Seattle Children’s Gender Care Clinic, told KIRO Newsradio’s Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin.

“We know as pediatricians … that really around age five, developing young people have an idea of what their gender is on the inside. We use developmental screeners, like ‘how do you view your gender,’ when we’re doing well-child visits with children of that age.”

Gender affirming care refers to healthcare provided to the transgender community that helps ease the transition process. Sequeira is adamant that recent national legislation passed that limits the practice is based on “misinformation” and “straight out transphobia.”

“There is no evidence to suggest that this care is harmful for youth. We have many studies in the medical literature suggesting that this care has a positive impact on youth mental health. This is care that is recommended by every major medical organization, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.”

Sequeira clarified the ramifications of the recently passed U.S. legislation that limits the kind of healthcare gender care is able to perform.

“I think what has been staggering over the last couple of years [are] the bills that are threatening to provide me as a medical provider with felony charges.”

“There are bills that are proposing felony charges for parents … felony charges for a family member for driving their child across state lines into Washington [for example] to receive care from me. Many of us who are involved in doing this work or families who have trans kids … are incredibly scared … I am still taking a step back to reflect on how much things have changed and evolved over the last couple of years. It’s staggering.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Spate of bills targeting access to trans healthcare is ‘staggering,’ says Seattle pediatrician