IACHR Warns Against Regressive Health Policies Affecting Transgender and Intersex Youth in the United States

May 25, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has warned against a wave of United States (USA) laws and policies that seek to limit access to healthcare for LGBTI people. IACHR is particularly concerned about the discriminatory impact of some of these laws on the rights of transgender and intersex children and youth.

IACHR noted that at least 30 states in the United States have passed laws and policies restricting gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. Among other things, these laws and policies limit access to anti-pubertal drugs and hormone therapy for transgender people who want these treatments. In addition, Missouri also applies restrictions to gender-affirming treatment for adults.

The IACHR is also concerned by public reports that Florida has passed a law that allows health care providers, including doctors and insurance companies, to refuse medical services based on religious beliefs. Human rights activists working to protect the rights of LGBTI people say the law lacks provisions for denial of service based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

IACHR is also concerned about the impact of some of these measures on the rights of intersex people. While civil society groups have banned gender-affirming medical care for transgender people in some U.S. states, many of these laws include harmful non-urgent procedures for intersex children. It points out that it also includes explicit exceptions that allow the implementation of These provisions are intended to ensure that physicians who perform medical procedures, including irreversible surgeries, on intersex children are not prosecuted if the person being treated does not consent to these procedures. This creates more barriers for intersex people to overcome in their quest for justice.

In its report on transgender and gender-diverse people and their economic, social, cultural and environmental rights (2020), IACHR states that the right to health of transgender and gender-diverse people is an integral part of their identity. said to be severely limited by the pathologicalization of In addition, they experience high rates of violence and discrimination when seeking health care. Lack of access to gender-affirming medical care severely impacts trans youth, who discover their gender identity at an early age. IACHR observes that not only physical health is affected by discrimination, but also mental health, leading to isolation, depression, self-harm and an increased risk of suicide.

Regarding intersex persons, the IACHR seeks to “normalize” gender diversity in its report on violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex persons in the Americas (2015). Warned against invasive medical procedures for purely cosmetic purposes. Using intersex people without their full, prior and informed consent. IACHR considers such treatment to be a form of medical violence based on prejudices against the body diversity, body integrity and individual autonomy of intersex people.

IACHR reiterated that states must ensure that LGBTI people have access to health services without fear of violence or discrimination. In addition, states should ensure that health protocols and services, including gender-affirming treatments, respect human rights and address the specific needs of individuals.

IACHR is the principal and autonomous agency of the Organization of American States (OAS), and its mandate is based on the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region, and he serves as an advisory body to the OAS on this matter. The IACHR, in its personal capacity, consists of seven independent members elected by the OAS General Assembly and does not represent any country of origin or residence.


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