News (USA)

Republican lawmakers introduce bill to put parents who support their trans kids in prison for life

Guard turning keys to a jail cell
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A Michigan bill seeks to brand gender-affirming parents and doctors as child abusers and even proposes life in prison as a possible consequence for facilitating gender-affirming care.

H.B. 6454 would amend the penal code to state that child abuse includes when someone “knowingly or intentionally consents to, obtains, or assists with a gender transition procedure for a child.”

The bill includes any hormones or puberty blockers in its definition of “gender-transition procedure.” Puberty blockers are reversible medications that delay the onset of puberty so that trans youth can have more time to explore their gender identities before the permanent effects of puberty occur and they have been shown to decrease lifelong suicide risk for trans people who want them.

State Rep. Beau LaFave (R), one of the lawmakers who introduced the bill, told The Hill that kids shouldn’t transition until they are old enough to have sex.

“People are abusing these children. The idea that we would be making potentially life-altering changes to 11-, 12-, 13-, 14-, 15-year-old kids when it is illegal for them to have sex is insane. I mean, they’re not responsible enough to smoke a cigarette until they’re 21.”

“Gender affirming care is medically necessary and life-saving care for transgender youth,” Equality Michigan executive director Erin Knott said in a statement. “Medical decisions belong to trans youth, their parents, and their doctors.”

Should the bill pass, Michigan would become the second state to make gender-affirming care a felony, after Alabama – though a judge has blocked part of Alabama’s law from taking effect.

Republicans across the country continue to advocate for laws banning youth from receiving gender-affirming care, even though multiple studies show that transgender youth experience high rates of suicidality, and that access to affirming healthcare often leads to significant improvements in their mental health and quality of life.

In August, anti-LGBTQ Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) introduced a bill at the federal level that would make providing gender affirming care for transgender minors a class C felony, ban federal funds—including Medicaid funds—from being used for gender affirming care for transgender people, ban medical schools from teaching about gender affirming care, stop health care plans under the Affordable Care Act from funding gender affirming care, and ban anyone found to have performed gender affirming care from immigrating to the U.S.

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