Gender-affirming care is not “new” or “experimental,” despite what some politicians have claimed. History shows that gender-affirming treatments have been in use in the U.S. since at least the 1960s for transgender people – and even earlier for cisgender and intersex people.

The first transgender medical clinic opened in the U.S. in 1966 at Johns Hopkins University. Since the 1940s, doctors have been prescribing hormones to ensure that cisgender children develop physical characteristics deemed “normal” for their given gender. And surgeons continue to “correct” the anatomy of intersex infants, even when these procedures are unnecessary for the child’s health or well-being.

Transgender history scholar G. Samantha Rosenthal notes that bans on gender-affirming care extend beyond just trans people – they may also restrict everyone’s access to basic medical services that help people feel better in their own bodies.

“Are most Americans willing to live with this level of government intrusion into their bodily autonomy?” she writes.

Also today:

Vivian Lam

Associate Health and Biomedicine Editor

Enforcement of binary gender norms has led to unwanted medical interventions on intersex and cisgender children. Javier Valenzuela/EyeEm via Getty Images

Gender-affirming care has a long history in the US – and not just for transgender people

G. Samantha Rosenthal, Roanoke College

The first transgender medical clinic opened in the US in the 1960s. But cisgender and intersex children began receiving similar treatments even earlier – often without their consent.

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