Kempe Statement on Gender-Affirming Care

The Kempe Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse and Neglect strongly condemns the directive issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Feb. 22 targeting transgender youth and their parents and medical providers by categorizing gender affirming healthcare as “child abuse.”

As the world’s first academic center dedicated specifically to the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect, we are aware of no scientific study suggesting that gender-affirming therapeutic treatments constitute child abuse. To the contrary, the scientific literature makes clear that transgender youth who do not receive such care may be at risk of substantial harm, including death. Additionally, healthcare professional societies, including the American Academy of Pediatricsthe American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Medical Association, affirm that gender-affirming therapies and treatments for transgender youth are healthy and appropriate and should be widely available.

The Kempe Center calls on all professionals in the child welfare and medical communities to respect and defend the privacy rights of all youth and families so that they can receive the evidence-based medical care they need. We must ensure that neither the diagnosis of child abuse nor the child welfare system is weaponized for political purposes. The work that we do must continue to be centered on the health and well-being of children, prioritize keeping children with their families, and facilitate the support and care children and families need to thrive. We must lean upon the best of our scientific knowledge to guide the care of children, not political agendas. 

The Kempe Center joined together with leaders in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect, including the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC), asserting that gender-affirming care is not, in itself, child abuse.An amicus brief was filed by The American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and a group of child abuse and child advocacy organizations, including the The Kempe Center, to take a stand on this matter which affects children and families of Texas.Read the full statement from The Kempe Center.

Any questions about this statement or the work of the Kempe Center should be directed to Professor Warren Binford at warren.binford@cuanschutz.edu or 916-719-7796.

This statement is joined by the Stress, Trauma and Anxiety Research and Treatment (START) Center. Questions about the START Center should be directed to Dr. Steven Berkowitz at steven.berkowitz@cuanschutz.edu.