"We Strongly Urge Gov. Jim Justice to Oppose this Legislation and Stop the Attacks on Transgender Children"
CHARLESTON, WV – Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, condemns the West Virginia Legislature for passing House Bill 2007, a bill that will unfairly restrict age appropriate, life-saving, medically necessary care to transgender youth under the age of 18. The bill now heads to Governor Jim Justice’s desk for signature or veto.
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 unfair restrictions directly place the health, safety and wellbeing of transgender youth in West Virginia 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 is just another example of hateful people in positions of power abusing their authority to achieve their own political goals – harming the children of West Virginia in the process.
“Politicians with no real understanding of the harmful impact these unfair restrictions 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, representing more than 1.3 million doctors, supports age appropriate gender affirming care. It literally saves children’s lives. We strongly urge Gov. Jim Justice to oppose this legislation and stop the attacks on transgender children.”
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.
So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 425 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 175 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:
More than 100 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 Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Utah,
More bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year,
More than 80 curriculum censorship bills and 30 anti-drag performance bills.
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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