23andMe supports the idea that we humans should celebrate our differences, not criminalize them.
That’s why we are writing to draw attention to recent legislative efforts across the US that essentially bar transgender youth from gender-affirming treatment. These kinds of laws have grave consequences to children and their families. 23andMe is also among more than 200 major companies to have signed a Human Rights Campaign and Freedom for All Americans statement opposing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
Gender Affirming Health Care
As we stated last year, gender-affirming health care for transgender people, including trans youth, is supported by most mainstream medical associations. Gender-affirming health care is literally life-saving for many trans kids. Studies by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Cornell University, and other institutions have found that pubertal suppression treatment for trans youth was associated with lower odds of suicidal thoughts.
Despite this overwhelming scientific support, many states are specifically attempting to criminalize health care for transgender youth. As of today, 15 states have introduced legislation targeting gender-affirming care; ignoring the evidence, gender-affirming treatments for trans children are being treated as felonies and child abuse.
Access to Care
Unfortunately, this is not a hypothetical political move, but a very real and terrifying reality for trans kids who are lucky enough to have supportive families. Investigations have already begun. Despite following best practices in medicine, some gender-affirming clinics are shutting down due to media pressure. Some bills even attempt to ban families from traveling in order to maintain their trans child’s access to medical care.
Even bills that don’t directly target gender-affirming medicine can have an effect on trans health. Recent legislation could forcibly out LGBTQ+ children, make children with gay or trans parents unable to discuss their families in school, and trans children unable to have their name and pronouns respected. This is despite many studies showing that simply using a trans youth’s chosen name and respecting their pronouns significantly reduces their risk of depression and suicide.
Trust the Science
The science is clear. Having supportive family members is associated with better mental and physical health in trans youth. Trans adolescents who receive gender affirmation are often more able to tend to other things, such as academic success, relationship building, and future-oriented planning. Trans kids and their parents and doctors know what’s best for them.
At 23andMe, science is at the heart of what we do, but this isn’t just about the facts, it’s also about people. Trying to legislate away the existence of trans people is not possible. They are part of humanity and have always been. We will continue our work to support and understand each other. Join us as we stand with our employees, customers, friends, and family who are transgender or have trans kids.If you’d like to learn more about the value of gender-affirming care for transgender youth, listen to parents of trans kids and read this policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics. You can also find out more about the status of state legislation to prohibit affirming care from the UCLA School of Law Williams Institute and how to contact your representatives.