Human Rights Campaign Condemns Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey for Enacting Nation’s First Bill to Impose Criminal Penalties On Providers of Age-Appropriate, Medically Necessary, Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Youth

by Delphine Luneau

Violating the Law Would be A Felony Punishable by One-Ten Years in Prison

Only Other Ban on Gender-Affirming Care to Pass into Law Did So Last Year Over Arkansas Governor’s Veto, Was Immediately Challenged And Enjoined in Federal Court

Ban Would Also Force Educators to Out Children to Their Parents

Today, Governor Ivey signed Senate Bill 184, legislation passed in the final hours of the session by anti-equality legislators, is the first in the nation to impose felony criminal penalties on medical professionals who offer evidence-based, age-appropriate, gender-affirming treatment to youth. This bill defies the best practices supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics and other leading medical authorities; strips away parents’ right to make decisions, in consultation with their doctor, about providing their child with best-practice medical care; and, would require school personnel to out transgender youth to their parent(s). In response to this discriminatory move, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned the governor’s action that needlessly harms families, transgender youth, and medical care providers.

Following Governor Ivey’s action, Human Rights Campaign Alabama State Director Carmarion D. Anderson-Harvey issued the following statement:

“Today, Governor Ivey has chosen scoring political points with radical, far-right voters over the welfare of transgender youth and their families across the state. The Governor and her fellow anti-equality legislators in the state capital have recklessly passed a bill that goes directly against the best advice of the medical community and intrudes on the rights of parents and families to make their own medical decisions. They have successfully criminalized critically important care that transgender youth need desperately, and the incredible doctors and care providers who help transgender youth each and every day. In doing so they have jeopardized the future of these doctors, families, and transgender youth who are all considering what their livelihoods will be in Alabama. The legislative package passed yesterday and signed today is the most anti-transgender legislative package ever passed, combining elements of infamous laws like HB2 in North Carolina, Florida’s “Don't Say Gay or Trans” law, and even Texas’s cruel executive action from earlier this year. Shame on Governor Ivey for being such a political coward that she puts children in harm’s way just to serve her own career.”

Across the country, anti-equality politicians are working to pass bills to discriminate against and disrupt the lives of transgender people. By making it impossible for doctors to provide care for their patients, transgender youth are denied the age-appropriate, best practice, medically necessary, gender-affirming care that a new study just found reduces the risk of moderate or severe depression by 60% and suicidality by 73%. According to data from the Trevor Project, 42% of LGBTQ+ youth nationwide seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year, including more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth. The nation’s leading child health and welfare groups representing more than 7 million youth-serving professionals and more than 1,000 child welfare organizations released an open letter calling for lawmakers in states across the country to oppose dozens of bills that target LGBTQ+ people, and transgender youth in particular.

Last year, a record 26 anti-LGBTQ+ bills were enacted into law across ten states. In 2022, more than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills are already pending in state legislatures, about half of which specifically target transgender youth and prevent them from being able to fully participate in everyday life. Lawmakers from coast to coast are seeking to ban transgender youth from participating in sports; criminalize medically necessary, life-saving healthcare for transgender youth; ban discussion of LGBTQ youth and families in classrooms, effectively erasing our community; revive “bathroom bills” to prohibit transgender young people from simply using the restroom at school; and even undermine companies’ own internal inclusion and safe workplace programs.

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