Utah bans gender-affirming care for trans youth

JUNE 13 2021: Protest at Brooklyn for trans youth rights
Photo: Shutterstock

On Saturday, Governor Spencer Cox of Utah (R) signed a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors in the state. Utah joins Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona and Tennessee in outlawing gender-affirming health care for trans youth.

The new law bans gender transition surgery and prohibits the use of hormone therapy, except in limited cases.

“While we understand our words will be of little comfort to those who disagree with us, we sincerely hope that we can treat our transgender families with more love and respect as we work to better understand the science and consequences behind these procedures,” the governor said in a statement.

Cox claimed the science behind the treatments was in dispute.

The American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics disagree and have all rejected claims that gender-affirming care is harmful to transgender children or adults.

The bill’s sponsor, State Senator Michael Kennedy (R), a family practice physician, said last week that allowing gender-affirming care for minors represented “a radical and dangerous push.”

Last year, the Republican governor vetoed a bill barring trans students from participating in girls’ sports.

“We care about you. We love you. It’s going to be OK,” Cox said at the time. The Utah Legislature overrode his veto soon after.

“In this case, legislators and the governor claim to have concern for Utah’s youth,” said Aaron Welcher, a spokesperson for the ACLU of Utah, “but ignore the medical professionals who care for them, the parents who love them and the young people themselves.”

The organization believes the new law violates due process and equal protection rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

So far this year, more than 100 bills have been introduced in at least 25 states by Republican lawmakers to restrict trans rights, from sports and bathroom bans to hormone therapy restrictions to fines for “misusing” pronouns.

Lawmakers are also broadening proposed bans beyond trans youth.

In Oklahoma, a new bill seeks to bar all forms of gender-affirming care for individuals up to 26 years old. The bill targets healthcare providers and says anyone who violates the rule could face felony charges and have their medical license revoked.

In North Dakota this month, a Republican lawmaker introduced legislation that would fine people $1500 for using pronouns that differed from a person’s biological sex. That bill was rejected by the state’s senate judiciary committee.

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