The National Trans Youth Council denounces the extreme and violent actions of state legislators across the country who have proposed bills that would severely restrict healthcare access for transgender youth. The latest attempts by legislators serve as further evidence that there is a pervasive backlash against transgender youth who are asserting their right to live authentically and thrive.
In the first few weeks of 2020, at least six separate states have introduced bills that directly target the health and wellness of transgender young people, and seven states are considering legislation that would restrict transgender students’ right to participate on their high school sports teams. These state bills fall in line with the federal Department of Education’s persistent attacks on transgender youth and students since 2017.
State houses in Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota have proposed bills that would block physicians from offering gender-related medical treatments. South Dakota’s bill would make it a felony for physicians to offer gender affirming surgery or hormone treatment to transgender patients. Pending legislation in states including Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Tennessee and Washington state are attempting to restrict transgender athletes’ access to sports teams, some which would overrule current trans-inclusive policies passed by state athletic associations.
The clear targeting of transgender and nonbinary youth mirrors the cowardly tactics used by Republican lawmakers to threaten historically vulnerable populations, like transgender minors who are not yet allowed to vote for the representatives writing these bills. Similar to recent attacks on reproductive justice, these bills threaten to limit an individuals’ agency over their own body and further perpetrates a misguided understanding of transgender youth.
Research by Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirms that transgender youth are at greater risks of suicide and that access to hormone therapies like hormone blockers significantly reduces this risk. Bills like Missouri’s threaten to revoke the license of any physician who chooses to provide such gender-related medial treatments and extends to also reporting parents who consent to their child receiving these treatments for child abuse.
Here we are again, demanding basic rights to healthcare and recreational activities in schools as we did less than a year ago when the federal government stripped transgender and LGBTQ+ people of their right to unbiased, comprehensive healthcare. If these restrictions are adopted into law, transgender and nonbinary youth will experience major implications, potentially losing access to gender-affirming healthcare and the opportunity to compete athletically alongside their peers.
Transgender youth are under attack and we need everyone to #ShowUp4TransYouth, now.
TRUTH, a collaborative project between GSA Network and Transgender Law Center, launched in 2014 to uplift the voices of transgender and gender nonconforming young people who were at the frontlines of trans liberation, and shift narratives about our lives and experiences. Now in its fifth year, TRUTH has more than 60 past and present members from over 25 states. TRUTH’s annual day of action, GSA Day 4 Gender Justice, is November 13, 2020. Follow and support our work via ourtranstruth.org and on social media via @ourtranstruth.