On February 24, APA President Frank C. Worrell, PhD, issued a statement condemning Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s directive calling on “licensed professionals” and “members of the general public” to report the parents of transgender minors to state authorities if the minors are receiving gender-affirming medical care. The governor’s action came after Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released an opinion that concluded that allowing minors to receive transition care such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgery is child abuse under state law. The Texas Psychological Association also issued a statement emphasizing that gender-affirming medical care supports children’s mental health and reminding psychologists practicing in Texas that the state’s opinions are nonbinding.
On March 10, the Public Policy Committee of APA’s Division 44 (Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity), the APA Advocacy Office, and the APA Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity Portfolio hosted the “Psychology and LGBT+ State Legislative Advocacy 2022” webinar to introduce new and updated resources for 2022, feature examples of advocacy of psychologists, and share information on developing advocacy skills.
More state legislatures are advancing bills that target LGTBQ+ people, pre-empt local protections, restrict inclusive curricula, and allow the use of religion to discriminate. According to the Human Rights Campaign, more than 250 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were introduced in states across the country in 2021, and the organization is tracking more than 490 pieces of potentially LGBTQ-related legislation introduced or pending in 2022 state legislative sessions. Many are directed at transgender children and youth, e.g., restricting transgender students’ access to facilities and athletics to their gender assigned at birth, prohibiting gender affirmative care, and restricting inclusive curricula. While not all bills being introduced on the state level are harmful to LGTBQ young people, anti-LGBTQ bills are moving through the legislative process and gaining media attention. Consistent with our longstanding opposition to discriminatory laws, policies, and practices aimed at LGBTQ+ persons, APA has joined leading national organizations committed to ensuring the best interest of all youth in calling on legislators across the country to reject these harmful bills (PDF, 1.34MB).