by HRC Staff •
"We Strongly Urge the Kentucky Senate to Oppose This Harmful Legislation and Stop the Attacks on Transgender Children"
Frankfort, Kentucky – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, condemns the Kentucky House for passing House Bill 470, a sweeping gender affirming care ban that will force medical providers to halt all forms of age-appropriate, medically necessary, and gender affirming treatment that many young trans people currently receive. The bill now heads to the Kentucky Senate for consideration.
Gender-affirming care is age-appropriate care that is medically necessary for the well-being of many transgender and non-binary people who experience symptoms of gender dysphoria, or distress that results from having one’s gender identity not match their sex assigned at birth. Gender-affirming care is the integration of medical, mental health, and social services. For transgender children, transition is an entirely social process which may include a new name or pronouns, wearing different clothes or styling one’s hair differently. At puberty, doctors may – in consultation with and having the informed consent of the transgender youth and their parents – prescribe reversible medication known as puberty-blockers, which allow a young person to safely reach an age in which they’re truly able to consent to further treatment.
Every credible medical organization – representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States – calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people. Unfortunately, bolstered by disinformation spread by social media and designed to take aim at care for transgender youth, these bans directly place the health, safety and wellbeing of transgender youth in Kentucky at risk.
In response, Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel released the following statement:
“Denying transgender and non-binary youth access to best-practice care is dangerous, spiteful, and just another example of Kentucky legislators abusing their authority to achieve their own political goals – harming the children of Kentucky in the process.
“Politicians with no medical training and no real understanding of the harmful impact these bans have on transgender people should have no say in how best practice, age appropriate care is delivered. Let’s get the facts straight. Every credible medical organization supports age appropriate gender affirming care. It has been proven to significantly lower the odds of suicidality among transgender youth. We strongly urge the Kentucky Senate to oppose this harmful legislation and stop the attacks on transgender children.”
The Kentucky legislature is also considering SB 150, a discriminatory bill that targets LGBTQ+ youth and prevents teachers from creating safe, inclusive classrooms, and SB 177, which bans instruction on gender identity and expression, sexual orientation and sexual relationships in schools.
Lawmakers in statehouses across the country are doubling down on attacks against transgender youth, and embarking on a reckless disinformation campaign to justify harmful policies to prevent transgender children from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary and scientifically supported care.
Two months into 2023, HRC is already tracking 380 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. 150 of those would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.
So far this year, HRC is tracking:
90 bills that would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; four have already become law, in Utah, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Tennessee
More bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year,
And more than 60 anti-LGBTQ+ bills which have passed at least one chamber, at least 25 of which are specifically anti-transgender.
In a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes, politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 and 29 passed into law. Despite this, fewer than 10% of these efforts succeeded. The majority of the discriminatory bills – 149 bills – targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children receiving the brunt of discriminatory legislation. By the end of the 2022 legislative session, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children passed into law.
Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation took several forms, including:
80 bills aimed to prevent transgender youth from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity. 19 states now exclude transgender athletes in school sports.
42 bills to prevent transgender and non-binary youth from receiving life-saving, medically-necessary gender-affirming healthcare. 5 states now restrict access to gender-affirming care.
70 curriculum censorship bills tried to turn back the clock and restrict teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ issues and other marginalized communities in their classrooms. 7 passed into law.
THE FACTS ABOUT GENDER AFFIRMING CARE
“Transition-related” or “gender-affirming” care looks different for every transgender and non-binary person.
Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.
Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions is their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor.
Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time that are in the best interest of the child.
None of this care is irreversible.
Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new – but that’s because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years.
But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass.
And very few transgender people change their mind.
Supported by all major medical organizations
Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents
A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this — transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide.
For more information, please visit https://www.hrc.org/resources/get-the-facts-on-gender-affirming-care
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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