Washington — Following is a statement by Frank C. Worrell, PhD, president of the American Psychological Association, reacting to new guidance issued by the Florida Department of Health opposing science-based treatment for gender non-conforming children:
“This memo from the Florida Department of Health distorts the psychological science regarding the treatment of gender non-conforming children. Research into the treatment of gender non-conforming individuals has found that withholding evidence-based treatments can be psychologically damaging, especially to children and youths who are struggling with their gender identity. Rates of self-injury, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts are much higher among gender dysphoric youth, ironically attributed to stress associated with non-affirming approaches to these very real issues.
“The Florida memo relies not on science, but on biased opinion pieces and cherry-picked findings to support a predetermined viewpoint and create a narrative that is not only scientifically inaccurate but also dangerous.
“The American Psychological Association urges both policymakers and psychological practitioners to follow APA’s carefully researched ‘Guidelines for Psychological Practice With Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People (PDF, 461KB),’ which call for ‘culturally competent, developmentally appropriate, and trans-affirmative psychological practice’ with such individuals, including minors.