The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling on North Carolina to repeal a new law it says discriminates against transgender children.
House Bill 2 (HB2) requires people to use bathrooms in public schools and buildings that coincide with the gender on their birth certificate. It also limits how people pursue claims of discrimination and does not provide protections based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
AAP CEO/Executive Director Karen Remley, M.D., M.B.A., M.P.H., FAAP, said the law “fails to meet children’s most basic needs of validation and protection.”
“Adolescents who are transgender are already at heightened risk for violence, bullying and harassment, and are already more prone to depression and engaging in self-harm, including suicide,” Dr. Remley said. “HB2 and other measures making their way through state legislatures across the country exacerbate those risks by creating hostile environments for transgender youth, all implying the same message; ‘you’re different, something is wrong with you, you need to change in order to fit in here.’”
Earlier this year, the Academy and several other leading health and welfare organizations sent a letter urging governors to oppose discriminatory legislation against transgender people. Dr. Remley now is calling for North Carolina’s law to be repealed.
The law came in response to new protections Charlotte leaders had approved for people who are transgender that were set to take effect April 1. On March 23, the North Carolina Legislature held a special session in which both chambers approved HB2 while drawing criticism for stifling debate. Gov. Pat McCroy signed the law the same day and it now is being challenged in court.
Deborah Ainsworth, M.D., FAAP, president of the AAP North Carolina Chapter, expressed concerns the law will stigmatize vulnerable children.
“We all have a fundamental responsibility to support and nurture children and adolescents to ensure that they can grow and develop into healthy adults,” Dr. Ainsworth said. “Laws like HB2 send a distressing message to transgender youth and can worsen the challenges many already face. We must do better for North Carolina’s young people. They’re counting on us.”Chapters addressing related public policy issues can receive assistance from the AAP Division of State Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.