The Pentagon Supports Gender-Affirming Care For Children

The Pentagon supports gender-affirming care for children as young as seven years old that belong to military families.

Doctors at the Department of Defense (DOD) argued, in a March 2023 edition of the American Journal of Public Health, that the only pathway for children of military members who demonstrate signs of gender dysphoria is to be put on hormone blockers and gender changer surgeries, arguing it is a “human right.”

“Affirming care has only recently become politicized; protection of gender-affirming medical care for military-affiliated [transgender] youths may require a declarative position without tolerance for personal biases, as the DoD has historically achieved for other minoritized groups,” the authors wrote.

The authors, David A. Klein, Thomas Baxter, Noelle S. Larson, and clinical psychologist Natasha A. Schvey, demanded that the military train all of its providers on gender medical interventions for minors, despite 53% of military-affiliated physicians in the DOD refusing to prescribe hormones to children regardless of training.

Klein, Schvey, and Baxter work at Travis Air Force Base in California, and Larson works at the Department of Pediatrics at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

They argued that children have an “inherent ability and right to consent to gender-affirming therapy,” adding that seven-year-olds should be able to make their own medical decisions.

The article criticized the laws passed by Republican states protecting children from gender-affirming care, saying that “threats to military-affiliated youths, parents, guardians, and clinicians are threats to military readiness.”

The authors also said prohibiting boys who identify as girls from playing on girls’ sports teams and separating restrooms by gender are “harmful.”

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) signed a law banning “transgender” people at public schools from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, making Arkansas the fourth state to enact such restrictions. Alabama, Oklahoma, and Tennessee have passed similar laws.

Eight states have passed laws prohibiting or restricting gender-affirming care: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Mississippi, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey recently issued several emergency regulations after investigating transgender clinics in his state. The new rule would require clinics to disclose the “health risks” associated with gender-affirming care to patients.