March 2, 2021
HHS Notice and Guidance on Gender Affirming Care, Civil Rights, and Patient Privacy
The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) stands with transgender and gender nonconforming youth and their families—and the significant majority of expert medical associations—in unequivocally stating that gender affirming care for minors, when medically appropriate and necessary, improves their physical and mental health. Attempts to restrict, challenge, or falsely characterize this potentially lifesaving care as abuse is dangerous. Such attempts block parents from making critical health care decisions for their children, create a chilling effect on health care providers who are necessary to provide care for these youth, and ultimately negatively impact the health and well-being of transgender and gender nonconforming youth. The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will continue working to ensure that transgender and gender nonconforming youth are able to access health care free from the burden of discrimination. HHS understands that many families and health care providers are facing fear and concerns about attempts to portray gender affirming care as abuse. To help these families and providers navigate those concerns, HHS is providing additional information on federal civil rights protections and federal health privacy laws that apply to gender affirming care.
As a law enforcement agency, OCR is investigating and, where appropriate, enforcing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act1 cases involving discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in accordance with all applicable law. This means that if people believe they have been discriminated against in a health program or activity that receives financial assistance from HHS, they can file a complaint.
- View OCR’s guidance on Gender Affirming Care, Civil Rights, and Patient Privacy: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/hhs-ocr-notice-and-guidance-gender-affirming-care.pdf