Democratic leaders refuse to comment on if they support access to transgender surgeries for minors.
The White House has emphasized the need to protect gender-affirming care for transgender youth, which it claims is “life-saving,” but declined to comment on if this includes sex-reassignment surgeries. House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., also did not respond to request for comment.
On Friday, Florida’s Board of Medicine and state Board of Osteopathic Medicine approved a proposed ban on puberty blockers and sex-reassignment surgery for transgender minors. States such as Alabama, Arkansas and Texas have attempted to ban hormone treatment and surgeries for transgender minors through legislative and executive action but have faced challenges in court.
The Department of Justice in March threatened legal action against these state bans, which they claimed violate Title IX’s protection against discrimination based on gender. The Department of Health and Human Services lists top, bottom and face surgeries as gender-affirming care for transgender youth. The surgeries, it states, are “typically used in adulthood or case-by-case in adolescence.”
“For transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents, early genderaffirming care is crucial to overall health and well-being as it allows the child or adolescent to focus on social transitions and can increase their confidence while navigating the healthcare system,” HHS states in its memo.
The White House did not provide a comment for this story. Officials deferred to HHS, which did not respond either.
Komodo Health Inc., a health technology company, provided insurance claims to Reuters that detailed 56 genital surgeries from 2019 to 2021 on patients with gender dysphoria ages 13 to 17.
Boston Children’s Hospital stated on its website that its doctors are able to perform vaginoplasties on 17-year-olds. The webpage was edited, however, to state that the procedures begin at 18 years old after the hospital faced public backlash in August. A study at the hospital shows it performed 65 double mastectomies on minors from 2017 to 2020 but no genital surgeries.
England’s government-run health care system, National Health Services (NHS), concluded in October that most transgender youth are in a “transient phase.” The country closed its only clinic dedicated to transgender treatments earlier this year after the NHS concluded that its staff used an “unquestioning affirmative approach.”
The National Institute of Health, despite Biden’s promotion of gender-affirming care, has spent roughly $17 million since 2021 on studies that analyze the dangers and uncertainties of hormone treatment for transgenders, such as increased cardiovascular risks, weakened ability to fight sexually transmitted infections, higher levels of HIV and infertility.
The Obama administration in 2016 concluded there was not enough evidence on the effectiveness of transgender procedures to cover them for Medicare recipients.