Biden’s White House called ‘cowardly’ after saying it opposes gender-affirming surgery for minors

Joe Biden, pictured.

The Biden administration has clarified its position on gender-affirming surgeries for trans minors after saying it is against the procedures.

A spokesperson clarified on Tuesday (2 July) that the Biden administration opposes gender-affirming surgery, for trans minors, saying that it believes surgeries should be limited to adults.

Gender-affirming surgeries (which include vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, chest feminisation or chest masculinisation) on patients 18 and younger in the US are extremely rare: fewer than 1,200 were performed in the highest volume year, according to AP. Typically, only male chest reconstruction surgery, or top surgery, is performed after years of hormone treatment.

Misinformation by anti-trans groups, however, claims that these surgeries are incredibly common, which is untrue.

Activist groups have warned that blanket bans on gender-affirming surgeries typically also extend to gender-affirming care such as hormone treatment.

Protestors at an LGBTQ+ rally.
Anti-LGBTQ+ bills across US states have caused an uproar from allies and the community. (Getty)

“These are deeply personal decisions and we believe these surgeries should be limited to adults,” a White House spokesperson said to the 19th. “We continue to support gender-affirming care for minors, which represents a continuum of care, and respect the role of parents, families, and doctors in these decisions.”

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Access to gender-affirming care such as physically reversible puberty blockers varies from state to state, with several Republican-majority states seeing an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills over the past few years.

“As President Biden has repeatedly said, ‘It’s wrong that extreme officials are pushing hateful bills targeting transgender children, terrifying families, and criminalising doctors. These are our kids. These are our neighbours. It’s cruel and callous’,” the spokesperson continued.

“Transgender children have been the victims of unacceptable bullying, hate and partisan laws that target them for who they are.”

The Supreme Court agreed to decide whether bans on gender-affirming care for trans youth are unconstitutional after the Biden administration petitioned it to address the hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills.

‘Literally the definition of discrimination’

A person holds up a sign reading 'I (heart symbol) bodily autonomy' during a protest against the Supreme Court's ruling overturning abortion rights and attempts by right-wing lawmakers to ban gender-affirming healthcare
Activists have warned the attacks on gender-affirming healthcare mirror the moves to roll back abortion rights, reproductive justice, access to vaccines and more. (Getty)

Responding to its opposition to gender-affirming surgeries, the LGBTQ+ nonprofit Campaign for Southern Equality said the statement was “cowardly”.

“It is a troubling concession to the right-wing assault on transgender Americans, falling for their false narratives about surgical care and betraying a commitment to equality and trust in the medical community,” Southern Equality’s Allison Scott said in a statement.

“Let’s be very, very clear: Government has no business inserting itself into private medical decisions that should be exclusively between patients, their providers, and the patients’ parent or guardian.

“It is dangerous to begin endorsing categorical bans or limits on healthcare, and there is no justification for restricting transgender youth’s access to the very same care that many cisgender youth receive every year – that’s literally the definition of discrimination.”

Scott continued by demanding that the Biden administration retract its “thoughtless statement” and “work to undo its damage.”

It is estimated that 38 per cent of trans youth in the US live in one of the 25 states which have passed laws banning gender-affirming care in some capacity for under-18s.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), US state legislatures have introduced 527 anti-LGBTQ+ bills since the beginning of 2024 alone. 510 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were tracked in 2023.

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