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Biden Administration Clears Up Position on Gender-Affirming Care

July 10, 2024

Backlash came last week following a statement from White House officials stating President Biden does not support gender-affirming surgery for minors.

The White House has clarified their position on gender-affirming care and surgery for transgender people in America after officials’ dug themselves into a hole with LGBTQ+ advocates.

The backlash came last week following a statement from White House officials stating President Biden does not support gender-affirming surgery for minors. A Biden spokesperson doubled down on the stance in an interview with The 19th, stating “[t]hese are deeply personal decisions and we believe these surgeries should be limited to adults.”

Gender-affirming surgery is a treatment option that is rarely available to trans teenagers, despite the harmful rhetoric spread by right-wingers. In fact, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) last month found that the majority of minors who received gender-affirming care were cisgender. No transgender youth under the age of 12 received any surgeries, researchers said.

The Human Rights Campaign was among the LGBTQ+ advocacy groups to push back on the Biden administration’s original statement last week. “The Biden administration is flat wrong on this,” Robinson said in a July 2 statement. She continued that surgeries “belong between a patient, their family, and their health care provider.”

Over the weekend, the HRC put together a coalition letter signed by a number of other organizations including The National Center for Lesbian Rights, Advocates for Trans Equality, The Trevor Project, PFLAG, the Whitman-Walker Institute, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The letter addressed to Biden read ,“[n]o parent should ever be put in the position where they and their doctor agree on one course of action for their children, supported by the overwhelming majority of medical experts, but the government forbids it.”

On Monday, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Neera Tanden reached out to Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson, in an attempt to clarify the administration’s position.

 “Above all, families should have the freedom to make the medical decisions that they and their doctors determine are best for them – which is why we oppose attempts to limit healthcare for transgender individuals in the courts or through legislation,” she said.

In a statement the The Advocate, Robinson said she valued the administration’s recent clarification.

“We appreciate that the administration has clarified that its position on healthcare for the transgender community has not changed—that it opposes any and all bans on access to care and will continue to fight these bans both in the courts and at the legislative level,” Robinson said. “The administration also reiterated what we know to be true: these types of personal healthcare decisions are best left to the families, the patient, and their medical provider—and no one else.”

Biden’s administration has been called one of the most progressive in U.S. history- a position that he has attempted to cement in place with legislation as the presidential election looms. Last month at a White House Pride event, Biden promised to counter anti-LGBTQ laws and protect the rights of queer Americans. However, polls have Biden trailing behind Donald Trump following the first 2024 Presidential debate last month, proving that LGBTQ+ support may not be enough to secure his position in the White House.

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