Boise, Idaho — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — is speaking out against today’s vote in the Idaho Senate to approve H71, legislation that makes it a felony to provide age-appropriate, best practice, gender affirming care supported by every credible medical organization representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States. This legislation attempts to conflate this best practice care with genital mutilation of children, a deeply offensive and flagrantly untrue comparison that takes radical, discriminatory talking points and writes them into law.
Idaho has passed several pieces of legislation in recent years that target the transgender community, including a sports ban which was enjoined by a federal court in an opinion which called out the explicit discrimination that had motivated that legislation. Yet again, Idaho lawmakers are caving to the far-right pressure campaign spearheaded by political extremists 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.
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一in consultation with and having the informed consent of the transgender youth and their parents一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.
Human Rights State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel Cathryn Oakley issued the following statement today:
“Gender affirming care is recommended by the entire mainstream American medical establishment for transgender youth. The decision about whether to seek this care is a deeply personal one that should be left to a patient, their parents, and their doctor. Politicians who don’t have an ounce of medical training should have no role to play in these decisions. We call on the Governor to veto this dangerous bill.”
This proposed law is one of many dangerous efforts far right political extremists and national anti-LGBTQ+ organizations are launching in Idaho and across the country against transgender youth and their families. Bolstered by disinformation spread by social media and designed to take aim at age appropriate, life-saving, medically necessary care for transgender youth, these bans directly place the health, safety and wellbeing of transgender youth in Idaho at risk.
So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 450 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. Approximately 190 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.
This year, HRC is tracking:
More than 110 bills that would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; seven have already become law, in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa and Georgia,
More bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year,
More than 85 curriculum censorship bills and 40 anti-drag performance bills.
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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