AMA moves to better serve transgender patients

The American Medical Association on Monday announced a new set of policies to better "inform and educate the medical community and the public on the medical spectrum of gender identity."

The authors of the adopted resolution wrote that gender is “incompletely understood as a binary selection” because gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and genotypic and phenotypic sex are not always aligned.

The policies address the needs of non-binary people as well as Americans who identify as transgender.

The AMA House of Delegates also adopted policy opposing any efforts that would prevent a transgender person from “accessing basic human services and public facilities in line with one’s gender identity.” Transgender people who live in states with discriminatory policies have “statistically significant increases in mental health and psychiatric diagnoses,” according to the resolution delegates adopted.

Prejudice and discrimination affect transgender individuals in many ways throughout their daily lives, often in the form of physical or verbal abuse or bullying.

Laws and policies that restrict the use of public facilities based on biological gender can have immediate and lingering physical consequences, as well as severe mental health repercussions. To protect the public health and to promote social equality and safe access to public facilities and services, the American Medical Association is opposed to policies that prevent transgender individuals from accessing basic human services and public facilities in line with their gender identity.

--Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, AMA Board of Trustees

In another action, delegates called upon the AMA to work with the Food and Drug Administration to establish a gender-neutral patient categorization in risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS). The idea is to take the focus away from gender identity and place it on reproductive potential. That is because there are patients who identify as male who may be taking medication that puts them at risk for damage to their biologically female reproductive systems.

Delegates also called for future AMA meetings to take place, whenever possible, only in those counties, cities and states that have nondiscriminatory policies.

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