Transgender kids in Utah won’t be able to start gender-affirming healthcare because of a bill signed into law by Republican Governor Spencer Cox over the past few days.
The bill — which was supported 58-14 by House Republicans — prohibits medical providers from delivering gender-affirming surgical methods to anyone under 18 and bans gender-affirming hormonal treatment for any recent patients under 18.
Children who were already receiving care for a gender dysphoria diagnosis can persist their hormonal treatment, but new patients cannot start.
Utah leagues six states that already ban a variety of gender-affirming healthcare for individuals under 18, and at least 21 other states are contemplating similar anti-trans healthcare bills in 2023, as per a database from the ACLU. Republicans are leading that impulse for restrictive new regulations.
Physicians, psychologists, and medical practitioners across the country widely believe gender-affirming healthcare, such as puberty blockers and hormone replacement treatment, to be medically required for trans child.
The American Medical Association states on its website that “every significant medical association recognizes the vital role of gender-affirming care in enhancing the physical health and mental well-being of transgender people.”
Gov. Cox upheld Utah’s new law, claiming it was “pausing these enduring and life-altering treatments for new patients until more and more promising research can help determine the long-term effects.”
But, defiant to Cox’s claim, advocates say the bodily changes that result from hormone treatment are not permanent but “partially, if not completely reversible,” as per the Transgender Law Center.
Alongside research from the Mayo Clinic has found that kids can identify and comprehend their gender by 3 years.
The American Medical Association has frequently condemned attempts to determine gender-affirming care, naming them “discriminatory acts” and “dangerous government intrusions into the procedure of medicine.”
The states are aiming to ban healthcare for transgender people
So far this year, 21 states are contemplating a total of 72 bills, according to data supplied by the ACLU, that seek to restrict gender-affirming supervision for trans youth — care that often contains puberty blockers and hormone treatment and much more rarely for children, operations.
Texas — which already excludes surgeries and hormone treatments for minors — is presently considering three separate bills that would make delivering gender-affirming care to minors a form of child vitriol, punishable as a second-degree crime. Likewise, Missouri lawmakers introduced a bill that would illegalize any adult who “coerces” a minor into gender-affirming care, categorizing it as felony child abuse or neglect.
Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Indiana, West Virginia, Montana, and Wyoming — all Republican-controlled states — have laws prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors under 18.
Republicans in Democrat-controlled New Jersey presented a similar bill in September. Kentucky state legislators are thinking a similar bill, but the state has divided party control, with Republicans holding both state legislative chambers and a Democrat maintaining the governorship.
Tennessee decreed a bill last year restricting surgery for minors and banning hormone therapies for prepubescent kids. Still, this year has introduced a new bill that would grow restrictions on gender-affirming supervision.
As per the local outlet Mississippi Today, Republican-controlled Mississippi has already decreed a bill in the House that would ban gender-affirming care for trans youth under 18. The bill is now directed to the state Senate.
Republican lawmakers in Hawaii and Oregon — both states regulated by Democrats — have also introduced bills that aim to prohibit and criminalize gender reassignment surgeries on children, even though these procedures are not commonly performed on kids, according to Reuters.
And while the 15 above states have submitted bills that would limit gender-affirming care for minors under 18, six states are seeking to restrict such healthcare for some adults over 18.
Nebraska’s Republican-led legislature has presented two bills this year that seek to prohibit gender-affirming care for youth under 19.
Kansas and Virginia have divided party management and have bills that ban gender-affirming care for individuals under 21. New Hampshire and South Carolina — both under complete Republican control — have equivalent accounts for trans youth and adults under 21.
Alongside Republican-controlled Oklahoma has a similar bill expanding the age up to 26.
In complement to Utah, Texas, and Tennessee — which all already ban some forms of gender-affirming care, as discussed above — four other states decreed laws last year refusing specific gender-affirming healthcare for children. Arizona law prohibits surgery for minors, and Alabama and Arkansas’s laws restrict surgeries and hormone therapies for minors — both laws are presently caught up in legal fights.
The Florida medical board set up a regulation last year that prohibits doctors from stipulating puberty blockers, hormone therapy, or surgeries to children, according to the Washington Post.
Specialists and past data show that numerous of these bills are unlikely to pass.
A statement from the Human Rights Campaign found that out of over 300 bills in the US in 2022 targeting the privileges of LGBTQ individuals — including bills banning gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth — more undersized than 10% of them became law.
As for the bills being regarded this year, Gillian Branstetter, a communications strategist at the ACLU, spoke to Insider, “Most of these bills will die. But, far too many will evolve into a law.”
“One too many have already evolved into law,” she told about Utah’s new regulations.
“They are all extreme; they are all unconstitutional,” Branstetter persisted. “They’re all a deep breach of the rights of these young trans individuals to be themselves.”
It’s not just trans healthcare targeted by recent Republican-led bills.
The ACLU has followed 234 anti-LGBTQ bills in the US in the 2023 legislative session. For instance, in Arkansas, legislators are considering a bill that would categorize drag performances as an “adult-oriented business,” stating additional restrictions to where drag shows can occur.
Branstetter emphasized that transgender people are no strangers to having their dynamism policed and their existence criminalized. “So we learn how to keep each other alive,” she told Insider. “We know how to support each other and build support networks and find society with one another. And more importantly, we learn how to fight back.”
“I think something will get worse before they get better, but they will in fact get better,” she conveyed.