April 19, 2016
2 min read

AAP: North Carolina legislation discriminates against transgender children

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A recent press release from the AAP called for the repeal of North Carolina’s HB2 legislation, which omitted transgender citizens from protection by specifying that certain anti-discrimination and public facility rights are only guaranteed based on “biological sex [as] stated on a person’s birth certificate.”

“Pediatricians in North Carolina and across the country know what children need: They need the stability and support of nurturing adults, they need the acceptance and compassion of their peers and community, and they need to feel safe where they live and where they learn,” Karen Remley, MD, MBA, MPH, FAAP, executive director and chief executive officer of the AAP, said in the release. “The bill recently signed by Gov. [Pat] McCrory, and the flurry of similar bills that have been introduced in state legislatures this year, fails to meet children’s most basic needs of validation and protection.”

Karen Remley

Karen Remley

HB2, also known as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, was recently passed by the North Carolina assembly and signed into law by McCrory, during a 1 day specially convened session. The bill reversed ordinances in multiple cities in North Carolina that allowed transgender people to use public restrooms and facilities based on their gender identity. Portions of the bill directly addressed children in public schools, and stated that, “in no event shall that accommodation result in the local boards of education allowing a student to use a multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility … for a sex other than the student’s biological sex.”

Further, the bill removed cities’ rights to redefine the classes of people protected by anti-discrimination employment and public accommodations laws and set a statewide definition that omitted protection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to Deborah Ainsworth, MD, FAAP, president of the AAP North Carolina chapter, this law will increase the barriers and burdens for children and adolescents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), and in turn increase their risks for depression, substance abuse and suicide.

“We also know that supportive and affirming communities, schools, friends and families can buffer all young people — especially LGBT youth — from these negative experiences and outcomes while simultaneously promoting positive health and well-being,” Ainsworth said in the press release. “We all have a fundamental responsibility to support and nurture children and adolescents to ensure that they can grow and develop into healthy adults. Laws like HB2 send a distressing message to transgender youth and can worsen the challenges many already face.”

According to Remley, HB2 and similar laws need to be repealed in order to support and protect the rights of transgendered youth.

“The message some public leaders have chosen is not the message we should be telling transgender children and teens,” Remley said. “The message of the AAP to transgender youth is this: We support you, and we will speak up for you. And so today, we do. We urge the governor of North Carolina and all other states considering similar measures to reconsider and repeal these harmful policies, and in so doing, stand up for transgender children.”