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Wyoming’s new gender-affirming care ban will force trans youth to de-transition

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) Photo: Matt Stone/Courier Journal, Louisville Courier Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC via IMAGN

Wyoming has banned gender-affirming care for minors, with Gov. Mark Gordon (R) signing the law, Senate File 99, last Friday. With his signature, Wyoming became the 24th state to ban or restrict such care.

The law will punish any medical professionals (including pharmacists) who provide minors with puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy, or gender-affirming surgeries (though such procedures are almost never conducted on minors). Any healthcare professional who provides such care can have their medical license revoked and be banned from practicing medicine in the state.

With doctors and pharmacies required to end such care, the law will effectively force an untold number of trans youth to de-transition, negatively impacting their mental health.

In an indecisive statement, Gordon wrote, “I signed S.F. 99 because I support the protections this bill includes for children, however it is my belief that the government is straying into the personal affairs of families. Our legislature needs to sort out its intentions with regard to parental rights. While it inserts governmental prerogative in some places, it affirms parental rights in others.”

Echoing Gordon’s statement, Gillian Branstetter, a spokesperson with the National Center for Transgender Equality, once told Vice News that it’s “wildly inappropriate” for politicians to insert themselves into private family matters between doctors and patients and to use children to score political points.

“Any such legislation [banning gender-affirming care] would carry a body count [and…] empower parents to reject what they are being told by doctors,” she said. Most major U.S. medical and psychiatric associations consider gender-affirming care as safe, effective, and essential to the well-being of trans minors.

In a statement opposing the new law, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wyoming wrote, “This ban won’t stop Wyomingites from being trans, but it will deny them critical support that helps struggling transgender youth grow up to become thriving transgender adults.”

“Gov. Gordon and supporters of Senate File 99 have chosen fearmongering, misrepresentations, intimidation, and extremist politics over the rights of families and the lives of transgender youth in Wyoming. But this fight is far from over,” the state ACLU chapter added. “We are determined to build a future where Wyoming is a safe place to raise every child. As our politicians continue to fail trans youth, it is up to each and every one of us to rise against their fear and ignorance and surround these young people with strength, safety, and love.”

While supporters of S.F. 99 claim that gender-affirming care is “experimental” and dangerous, the medications used in such care have been safely administered to cisgender children with certain cancers and early-onset puberty for decades. Trans minors have been getting puberty blockers since the 1990s.

As of March 25, 23 other states have passed laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for minors. Families with trans children have sometimes fled these areas to move to states that allow such care.

Currently, 14 states and Washington, D.C. have “shield” laws protecting minors’ access to gender-affirming care and preventing workers from having to accommodate any out-of-state official requests seeking information on individuals seeking such care.

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