Biden Officials Pushed to Remove Age Limits for Trans Surgery, Documents Show

Health officials in the Biden administration pressed an international group of medical experts to remove age limits for adolescent surgeries from guidelines for care of transgender minors, according to newly unsealed court documents.

Age minimums, officials feared, could fuel growing political opposition to such treatments.

Email excerpts from members of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health recount how staff for Adm. Rachel Levine, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services and herself a transgender woman, urged them to drop the proposed limits from the group’s guidelines and apparently succeeded.

If and when teenagers should be allowed to undergo transgender treatments and surgeries has become a raging debate within the political world. Opponents say teenagers are too young to make such decisions, but supporters including an array of medical experts posit that young people with gender dysphoria face depression and worsening distress if their issues go unaddressed.

In the United States, setting age limits was controversial from the start.

The draft guidelines, released in late 2021, recommended lowering the age minimums to 14 for hormonal treatments, 15 for mastectomies, 16 for breast augmentation or facial surgeries, and 17 for genital surgeries or hysterectomies.

The proposed age limits were eliminated in the final guidelines outlining standards of care, spurring concerns within the international group and with outside experts as to why the age proposals had vanished.

The email excerpts released this week shed light on possible reasons for those guideline changes, and highlight Admiral Levine’s role as a top point person on transgender issues in the Biden administration. The excerpts are legal filings in a federal lawsuit challenging Alabama’s ban on gender-affirming care.



About Author

You may also like


Women Have Been Misled About Menopause

Hot flashes, sleeplessness, pain during sex: For some of menopause’s worst symptoms, there’s an established treatment. Why aren’t more women

What to Know About Menopause and Hormone Therapy

There has long been an effective, F.D.A.-approved treatment for some menopausal symptoms, but too few women have a clear picture