News (USA)

Kansas poised to become 25th state to ban gender-affirming care for minors

February 24, 2023, Boise, Idaho, protect transgender youth rally. People holding flags and signs in support of transgender youth being able to receive gender, affirming care.
Photo: Shutterstock

Republicans in the Kansas legislature are poised to make the state the 25th to outlaw medical care for trans kids when they vote to override it.

While Gov. Laura Kelly (D) is expected to veto the bill, Republicans hold supermajorities in both the Kansas House and Senate.

“Today, the Senate took a firm stand in support of helping and not harming children by making it clear that radical transgender ideology and the mutilation of minors is not legal nor welcome in Kansas,” said state Senate President Ty Masterson (R) following the vote on Wednesday that sent Senate Bill 233 to the governor’s desk.

Gov. Kelly has pledged to veto the bill.

If enacted, the law will bar transgender youth under 18 from accessing medically necessary care, including gender-affirming surgeries and puberty blockers. Gender-affirming surgery is almost never performed on minors, but puberty blockers – which delay the onset of puberty so that trans youth and their families can have more time to understand their identities before the permanent effects of puberty take hold – have been shown to reduce lifelong suicide risk for transgender people.

With the expected override, Kansas will become the third state this year to ban gender-affirming care for minors. Similar laws in four states are tied up in courts.

Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes (D) pleaded with Republicans to “show some humanity and kindness” with a “no” vote.

“Families of trans kids are beside themselves,” she told fellow lawmakers. “They’re scared, they’re tired, and they’re worried that we will lose more loved ones if this bill passes.”

“To our beloved Kansans who are listening to this debate on this bill, I hope that you know there are people in this room that are listening to you,” she said. “We know that you’re getting the care that you need so that you can live your life fully. We understand what this law will do to you and your families if it passes.”

Last year, Kelly vetoed a similar bill along with another measure to bar transgender women and girls from female school sports, but GOP moderates demurred when their far-right colleagues voted to override.

This time, votes advancing Senate Bill 233 indicate the state House and Senate Republican supermajorities will prevail in enacting the anti-trans legislation.

As with other red states that have outlawed gender-affirming care for minors, opponents of the law are sure to take it to court. So far, the record is mixed for legal challenges, with federal appeals courts divided on whether the bans are constitutional. Ultimately, the Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, may weigh in on the issue.

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

Trans inmates win “lifesaving” lawsuit demanding improved health care & safer housing

Previous article

The rainbow flag was an international beacon of hope. Republicans killed it.

Next article