Idaho: Life In Prison For Puberty Blockers
As threats to trans youth in Texas wait for a formal legal ruling, multiple states are taking the Lone Star State’s example and advancing their own legislation aimed squarely at parents and medical professionals that provide gender-affirming affirming care to trans children.
The Idaho House was the most recent example when it passed HB 675 on Tuesday. The bill would make providing gender-affirming health care, including puberty blockers and hormone replacement therapy, to trans youth a felony punishable by life in prison. That same punishment would apply to giving permission for a minor to receive such care or allow a minor to travel out of state to access gender-affirming health care.
“This bill represents a fundamental misunderstanding of trans people,” Rep. John McCrostie, the only out gay lawmaker in the Idaho legislature, told the Idaho Press. “I applaud those parents and their courage, as well as the young people who have let their parents know, ‘I think I’m a little different.”
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Bruce Skaug, continued reporting the false conflation of puberty blockers, which is reversible and the most common treatment for trans youth, and chemical castration while voicing his support for the measure. He also referenced gender-affirming surgeries, which are not performed on trans minors, as procedures regularly approved for trans youth.
Skaug also dressed his approval as preserving children’s ability to reproduce in the future as “a fundamental right.” Rep. Julianne Young echoed Skaug, labeling the bill “an extension of the pro-life argument.” She added, “We are not talking about the life of the child, but we are talking about the potential to give life to another generation.”
Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director Cathryn Oakley expressed disappointment at the bill’s passing. “Every kid in Idaho deserves the chance to grow up feeling safe and respected for who they are. Denying someone medically-necessary health care simply because you don’t approve of who they are is textbook discrimination,” Oakley said in a statement. “Decisions about what kind of care is appropriate for young people should be left up to the young person and their parents, in consultation with health care professionals, not by politicians looking to score political points at the expense of the well-being of transgender youth.”
The bill now heads to the Idaho Senate for committee approval. If it gains approval, it will head to the Senate floor for a vote.
Alabama: Gender-Affirming Care A Felony
Alabama advanced its own bill promising felony charges for providing gender-affirming health care, SB 184, last week. The measure already passed in the Alabama Senate and now heads to the House floor for a vote after gaining approval from the House Judiciary Committee last Wednesday. The bill would make providing such care to trans individuals 18 years old or younger punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
“We’re not supposed to be here substituting out judgement for the person that’s closest to that child,” Rep. Chris England told the Associated Press. “I personally believe that this legislation doesn’t protect children, it endangers them, and it also endangers their families.”
Wisconsin: Beyond Medical Care
Both bills’ advancement comes as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s directive that state child protection agencies treat providing gender-affirming care as “child abuse” was temporarily blocked by a federal judge after the ACLU filed suit against the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services and Abbott. The same result occurred in Arkansas last July after the ACLU sued the state on behalf of four trans youths and their families.
Unlike in Arkansas, Abbott issued his instructions without any legal backing as the Texas legislature had not passed a ban on gender-affirming care for trans minors. That could change when state lawmakers hold their next session in 2023, or if Abbott calls for a special session sooner.
Measures attacking trans youth identities are also being focused on schools. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, both houses of the Wisconsin Congress passed what it called a “parental bill of rights” last week. The bill allows parents to determine the name and pronouns used by their children in public schools without any regard for how those children identify personally, placing the safety of trans and gender-diverse students at further risk. Under the measure, parents would be able to sue school staff who use student-chosen names or pronouns. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has signaled that he will veto the bill.
Trans Youth: Previously on Towleroad
Photo courtesy of Ted Eytan/Creative Commons