Human Rights Campaign Condemns Wyoming Lawmakers for Another Round of Attacks on Transgender Youth

by Cullen Peele

"Lawmakers in Cheyenne Are Making a Mockery of the State’s Most Precious Value: ‘Equal Rights.’"

Cheyenne, WY - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, condemned the Wyoming Senate for passing two bills targeting transgender youth and medical providers. SF 144 would prohibit life-saving, medically necessary, gender affirming care for transgender youth ー care administered as a result of careful consultation and assent of the young person, their parents, and medical experts ー and require that a doctor or other health care provider’s license be revoked if they are found to be providing such treatment. The policy is similar to a bill passed by the same Senate last week, which would, if signed into law, make it felony child abuse for parents, health care providers, and any others to provide gender affirming care to children.

Another bill passed through the Senate today, SF 133, would create a commission that would be entitled to ask invasive, personal questions and make it extremely difficult for transgender youth to be able to play sports consistent with their gender identity. It casts aside decades of experience that shows that transgender students can and do participate fairly in school sports, and sets up a taxpayer-funded commission to address a made-up problem that simply does not exist. Advocates for women’s sports ー including prominent proponents of gender equity in sports such as Billie Jean King and Megan Rapinoe ー support allowing transgender athletes to play sports consistent with their gender identity.

This legislation is the result of ongoing far-right pressure placed upon lawmakers, spearheaded by national anti-LGBTQ+ organizations and political extremists peddling propaganda and disinformation on social media and other platforms. It is one of hundreds of bills being pushed by national anti-LGBTQ+ organizations across dozens of states.

In response, Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel released the following statement:

“With three legislative attacks on transgender youth in the last week, lawmakers in Cheyenne are making a mockery of the state’s most precious value: ‘equal rights.’ Denying transgender youth the ability to access age-appropriate, best practice medical care ー care agreed to by the young person, their parents, and their doctors ー simply because those youth are transgender is discrimination plain and simple. Isolating transgender youth from their peers by subjecting them to major invasions of their privacy in order to play school sports, for no reason other than that they’re transgender, is discrimination. These bills aren’t about the real issues affecting the wellbeing of Wyoming’s kids or the future of student athletics. We urge the Wyoming House to reject these blatantly harmful and discriminatory measures.”

Get the facts about gender-affirming care:

  • 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.
    • “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.

  • Gender transition is a personal process that can include changing clothes, names, and hairstyles to fit a person’s gender identity.
    • 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.

    • In most young children, this care can be entirely social. This means:
      • New name

      • New hairstyle

      • New clothing

      • None of this care is irreversible.

  • Being transgender is not new.
    • 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.

  • ALL gender-affirming care is:
    • Age-appropriate

    • Medically necessary

    • Supported by all major medical organizations

    • Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents

  • And in many cases, this care is lifesaving!
    • 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.

Additional facts on the participation of transgender kids in school sports:

  • A May 2022 article published in the Washington Post features a survey which found that 59 percent of respondents said they opposed or strongly opposed banning transgender girls from participating in K-12 athletics.

  • Further, there is a disconnect between Republican leaders and Republican voters, with 48% of GOP or GOP leaning respondents opposing anti-transgender sports bans. “Recent political science research suggests that policies like these are enacted not because of public attitudes about LGBTQ rights, but because conservative leaders are pushing a policy agenda…Even so, Republicans are practically evenly divided on these issues.”

  • In the last three years, anti-LGBTQ+ groups and politicians have singled out transgender kids to deny them access to gender-affirming medical treatment, prevent them from participating in sports teams consistent with their gender identity, and deny access to bathrooms. 2020 set a record number for anti-transgender bills filed with 79 bills, largely focused on attacking transgender youth; 2021 surpassed that record with 147 such bills filed in 34 states. 2022 is on track to surpass that record yet again. For transgender youth – who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence – to bear the weight of these attacks year after year, this legislation takes a toll. Politicians are culpable for the harms they inflict by continuing to consider bills that target transgender youth.

  • In a December 2020 friend-of-the-court brief challenging an Idaho sports ban, as many as 200 female athletes voiced their support for the inclusion of transgender girls in school sports– some of whom included tennis icon Billie Jean King, World Cup champion Megan Rapinoe, and WNBA player Candace Parker.

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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