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Internal Medicine Physicians Decry Policies that Encourage Discrimination Against LGBTQ Persons
Statement attributable to:
George M. Abraham, MD, MPH, MACP, FIDSA
President, American College of Physicians
WASHINGTON, D.C. March 9, 2022 –The American College of Physicians (ACP) strongly objects to policies that are being put into place in states across the country that encourage discrimination against persons, including young people, who are LGBTQ, particularly for those who are transgender. Laws and policies that codify discrimination and restrict access to health care for LGBTQ persons reinforce marginalization and increase the risk of anxiety, substance use disorder, suicide, and other mental health issues for those it impacts.
Just this week we have seen bills of this nature passed by the legislatures in Florida and Idaho. Troublingly, the bill in Idaho, as well as a recent directive from Texas Governor Greg Abbott, seek to criminalize health care for transgender youth and, in Texas, require family welfare agency staff to investigate parents of transgender children for “child abuse” and potentially remove their children from their parents’ care. In reaction to the Texas directive, ACP said that transgender individuals already face extreme barriers to accessing necessary health care, and this type of interference in the patient-physician relationship is unacceptable. The Florida legislature passed a bill, which Governor Ron DeSantis is expected to sign, to prohibit “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” and allow parents to sue school districts for alleged violations, creating an environment that adds to the discrimination and stigma LGBTQ students already face. These laws are directly counter to what ACP and other medical organizations recommend to best foster the health and well-being of LGBTQ persons. Instead, we should be seeking ways to better support LGBTQ persons and their families and to reduce social stigma.
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 161,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
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