This week, the American Medical Association (AMA), the country’s largest medical organization, took several actions to solidify their defense of transgender people. This included a resolution opposing any policy or legislation — like “bathroom bills” put forth in North Carolina and Texas — that prohibits transgender people from living according to their gender identity throughout society.
During its annual meeting in Chicago this week, the AMA House of Delegates approved a resolution favoring “Access to Basic Human Services for Transgender Individuals.” As drafted, the resolution notes that laws that restrict which facilities transgender people can use “place undue harm on the physical and social well-being and safety of transgender individuals.” It also highlights the way that transgender minors “are at particular risk of social, mental, and physical detriment by being forced to disregard their gender identity or to publicly identify as transgender due to these policies.”
Thus, the AMA officially opposes “policies preventing transgender individuals from accessing basic human services and public facilities in line with one’s gender identity, including, but not limited to, the use of restrooms.” The resolution also calls for the creation of additional policies that “promote social equality and safe access to basic human services and public facilities for transgender individuals according to one’s gender identity.”
The AMA has publicly supported trans-affirming medical care for nearly a decade, and in 2015, it also called for allowing transgender people to serve in the military.
Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called a special session of the legislature for July, ordering lawmakers to take up legislation that failed to pass during the regular session that would mandate discrimination against transgender people. Such legislation now flies in the face of the country’s largest organization of medical professionals.
The resolution opposing “bathroom bills” was one of only several actions the AMA took to support transgender people.
Another resolution passed by the AMA’s House of Delegates called on the organization to improve public education about the “medical spectrum of gender identity.” According to an AMA News post, this resolution was necessary because gender is “incompletely understood as a binary selection.” In other words, the medical community will do more to support people who identify as genderqueer or gender nonbinary and to raise awareness that a person’s gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and sex can all vary from each other.
A third resolution called upon the Food & Drug Administration to develop a gender-neutral patient categorization to protect transgender people from being discriminated against when it comes to reproductive care. This would ensure, for example, that transgender men who have retained their ability to have children aren’t denied care (or insurance coverage for that care) because of their gender identity.
The Trump administration has rolled back guidance protecting transgender people from health care discrimination, suggesting it’s unlikely to support such an expansion. This will likely have the effect of recreating barriers for trans people to access sex-specific procedures like mammograms, prostate exams, and cervical Pap tests.
To cement their commitment to honoring and protecting transgender people from discrimination, the AMA delegates also “called for future AMA meetings to take place, whenever possible, only in those counties, cities and states that have nondiscriminatory policies.”
Groups like the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and GLMA (Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality) applauded the resolutions. HRC’s Mary Beth Maxwell noted in a statement that the AMA “knows better than most the harmful consequences of ill-conceived anti-transgender actions.” GLMA, which helped draft the resolutions, praised the new polices as being “extremely beneficial to LGBT individuals and the care they receive.”
Representing well over 200,000 physicians, medical students, and residents, the American Medical Association is the largest medical professional organization in the United States.