In the coming year, nine states will introduce legislation to block transgender youth from seeking gender-affirming care, The Hill reports.
The states include Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia. Over 20 bills have been introduced in these states in an attempt to block the life-saving medical care.
Many of the bills would prohibit medical providers from providing puberty blockers, hormone therapy, or gender-affirming surgeries to minors under the age of 18. Gender-affirming surgeries are typically not performed on minors.
Medical professionals who provide gender-affirming care say that puberty blockers have been used for decades on trans children and children with certain cancers with neither harmful nor permanent side effects. Puberty blockers give trans kids time to explore their identities before the permanent effects of puberty occur.
Some of the bills would block taxpayer and healthcare funds from going to any organization that provides gender-affirming care. Others would revoke the medical licenses of professionals who provide such care or would report any parent or guardian who allows their minor child to receive such care to their state’s social services department for “child abuse.”
Arizona, Alabama, and Arkansas have already passed laws trying to restrict medical care for transgender youth, though some of the laws have been blocked by courts. State officials in Texas and Oklahoma have also tried to restrict such care, even though their legislatures haven’t passed laws forbidding it, the Movement Advancement Project reported.
The bills are just part of a national Republican-led campaign to demonize transgender people, LGBTQ allies, and gender-affirming medical professionals as “grooming” and “indoctrinating” children into “gender confusion” so that they can “mutilate” children’s bodies for profit. Such rhetoric has led to death threats and harassment of medical professionals, teachers, and other community members who support the LGBTQ community.
Such laws go against the best practices of trans-related pediatrics outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association. The organizations find that gender-affirming medical care is medically necessary and reduces suicide and depression among trans youth.
Numerous studies have shown that a lack of societal acceptance and access to gender-affirming care can contribute to high rates of suicide among trans youth.