NCFR Board of Directors’ Statement in Response to Recent Anti-Transgender Legislation
The Board of Directors of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) unequivocally condemns legislation that limits the rights, opportunities, and care of transgender youth, and that criminalizes the affirming actions of their health care providers and educators. Across the U.S., a record number of legislative efforts have been underway to limit transgender youth’s access to gender affirming care, regardless of parental support. Some legislative efforts restrict transgender youth from participation in sports, while other efforts require government employees and teachers to inform parents or guardians when the children in their care display gender nonconformity or dysphoria. The state of Arkansas, for example, recently passed HB1570 and SB354, effectively prohibiting transgender youth from receiving gender affirming medical care and playing organized sports.
Anti-transgender legislation, such as that recently seen in Arkansas, undermines the ability of families and communities to support and affirm transgender youth. Family Science research has revealed the critical benefits of family and community support for this vulnerable group. While research to understand the complex issues related to transgender identity among youth is still emerging, gender-affirming care has been well-documented to show life-saving benefits to transgender youth through improved psychological health, reduced gender dysphoria, and decreased suicidality and suicide attempts. Anti-transgender legislation endangers the health of transgender youth, restricts the ability of parents to care for their children, legitimizes discrimination against an already vulnerable group, and stirs fear against a nonexistent threat.
We, the NCFR Board of Directors, encourage members of NCFR to educate their students, colleagues, local legislators, and other community members about the complex issues facing transgender youth and the dangers of anti-transgender legislation. We further support continued longitudinal research to understand the variation in outcomes for transgender youth and their families over time. We encourage state and federal legislators to focus their efforts on real threats to families, such as poverty, racism, and lack of healthcare access. We also re-commit to reviewing state laws for anti-transgender and other forms of bias, so as to try to avoid holding our annual conferences in states that have passed anti-family legislation, such as HB1570 and SB354 in Arkansas. In sum, NCFR supports science-based, family-supportive legislation that promotes the healthy development of all youth, free from individual and state-sanctioned discrimination and harassment.
Please also see the NCFR research summary, Critical Benefits of Familial and Community Support for Transgender Youth and the updated NCFR Resource Collection, Transgender Individuals and Families Resources.