The APA’s vision statement includes the phrase: “Its vision is a society that has available, accessible quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment”. Sadly, transgender and gender variant individuals often do not have available and accessible treatment.
The APA joins the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association in recognizing the critical importance of access to care for transgender persons.
At its July meeting, the American Psychiatric Association’s Board of Trustees voted to endorse position statements in support of access to care and civil rights for transgender individuals.
The APA’s official positions:
Therefore, the American Psychiatric Association:
1. Supports laws that protect the civil rights of transgender and gender variant individuals
2. Urges the repeal of laws and policies that discriminate against transgender and gender variant individuals.
3. Opposes all public and private discrimination against transgender and gender variant individuals in such areas as health care, employment, housing, public accommodation, education, and licensing.
4. Declares that no burden of proof of such judgment, capacity, or reliability shall be placed upon these individuals greater than that imposed on any other persons.
5. Recognizes that appropriately evaluated transgender and gender variant individuals can benefit greatly from medical and surgical gender transition treatments.
6. Advocates for removal of barriers to care and supports both public and private health insurance coverage for gender transition treatment.
7. Opposes categorical exclusions of coverage for such medically necessary treatment when prescribed by a physician
Advocacy is an important aspect of the APA’s work. In 2000, the APA announced its support of same-sex unions; in 2002 they announced their support of same-sex couples raising children.
Now, the APA’s support of civil liberties has extended to the transgender and gender variant communities.
Transgender individuals face serious discrimination, prejudice, and victimization from violent hate crimes. These individuals also struggle with legal issues, employment issues, and documentation issues.
At this point, transgender people have no federal protection against discrimination and are often denied medical and psychiatric care related to gender transition.
The mental health of transgender individuals suffers from little access to proper care. In the most recent survey of over six thousand transgender individuals, 41 percent reported having attempted suicide before.
This information was announced August 16th in the Psychiatric News Alert, the voice of the American Psychiatric Association.