States target transgender health care in first 2023 bills

After by-elections and write stream anti-transgender legislation Last year, Republican state lawmakers are focusing on issues of bodily autonomy this year with new proposals to limit access to gender-affirming health care and access to abortion.

In 11 states—Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Virginia—more than two dozen bills have been introduced to limit transgender people’s access to health care. 2023.

Bills targeting other aspects of transgender lifestyles have been filed in many states and are pending in several other GOP-majority countries.

Gender-supporting healthcare professionals and parents of trans young people are the main targets of these bills, many of which aim to criminalize helping a trans child get what doctors and psychologists consider “essential health care.”

Erin Reed, a researcher who tracks transgender legislation, said public institutions in which Republicans have increased their lead over the medium term are likely to double down on anti-transgender legislation this year and reintroduce some of the more drastic measures that have not been enacted on previous sessions.

Of the 35 anti-LGBTQ bills already submitted in Texas, three will classify the provision of gender-affirming assistance to minors as a form of child abuse. last year’s directive from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott this directed child protection agents to launch abuse investigations against parents who allowed their children to receive gender-affirming care.

In Tennessee, the Republican Party-controlled legislature announced after Election Day that its first priority would be to prevent health care providers from changing a child’s hormones or performing surgeries that would allow him to represent a gender other than his gender. pre-filed invoice replace existing law with more stringent restrictions.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health stated last year that adolescents with gender dysphoria may start taking hormones at age 14 and may have certain surgeries at age 15 or 17. The group acknowledged the potential risks, but said it was unethical to withhold early treatment, which could improve psychological well-being and reduce the risk of suicide.

The legislation was filed this week in Republican-controlled Oklahoma, which last year passed restrictions on trans participation in sports and use of the school toiletseeks to ban gender-affirming patient care under 26 years old and block it from coverage under the state Medicaid program.

“This is the worst anti-transgender bill I have ever seen in any state,” Reid said, noting that adult medical transition bans were a “hypothetical escalation” until recently.

Another Oklahoma Proposal prohibit the distribution of public funds organizations that provide gender confirmation procedures for patients under 21 years of age.

“It is irresponsible for any healthcare worker to perform or recommend life-changing surgeries that may later be regretted,” said the author of the bill, Republican Rep. Jim Olsen. “Performing irreversible procedures on young people can cause them irreparable moral and physical harm at a later age.”

A similar bill tentatively filed in South Carolina, where Republicans control both houses, also requires that trans adults over 21 receive referrals from their doctor and licensed psychiatrist before they can begin treatment.

Cathy Renna, a spokeswoman for the National LGBTQ Task Force, said she sees the bills as a product of the “permissible atmosphere of hate” fueled by misinformation and fear-mongering that made anti-LGBTQ rhetoric more acceptable after former President Donald Trump’s 2016 election. .

“We have politicians and celebrities and just people in our communities who have been given permission under Trump to dig out this scab and do and say hurtful things without repercussions,” Renna said. “It unleashed the Pandora’s nightmare of sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism.”

“If you look at the last few years,” she said of the LGBT community, “we feel like we’re under attack that hasn’t been for decades.”

Meanwhile, Democrats in some states are taking a more aggressive approach to protecting the health of transgender people.

New California law effective January 1 protects the families of transgender youth from criminal prosecution if they are traveling to California for gender-affirming medical procedures, such as surgery or hormone therapy, from states that prohibit such procedures for minors. By making California a haven for trans youth and their parents, the law blocks out-of-state subpoenas and prohibits health care providers from sharing information about gender-affirming care with out-of-state organizations.

Another California billfiled in December would expand those protections by barring a justice of the peace from issuing an arrest warrant for violating another state’s law that criminalizes helping someone get an abortion or gender reassignment assistance.

Illinois state legislator introduces similar asylum bill at the end of last year. State The House of Representatives passed another bill on Friday strengthen the protection of patients and those who perform abortions and maintain the sex of the procedure.

And in Minnesota, where Democrats gain triple control of state government in the midterm elections bill will transfer jurisdiction to the state in child custody cases involving parents who bring their children to Minnesota for gender-proven medical care.

Reed, a trans woman, is overseeing a growing list of other proposals in government offices, including bans on speaking, restrictions on toilet use, restrictions on LGBT discussion in schools, and barriers to changing the gender marker on a driver’s license or birth certificate. But raising the minimum age proposed for accessing gender-affirming care is her biggest concern.

“Adult transition restrictions come into play, and I’m already hearing some talk about the brain not finishing developing until age 25, so why not restrict it until then,” she said. “Any further loss of autonomy is incredibly worrisome.”


Hanna Schoenbaum of Raleigh, North Carolina is a member of the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on hidden issues.

Copyright 2023 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.

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