Human Rights Campaign Slams Gianforte for Making Draconian Gender Affirming Care Ban Even Worse

by HRC Staff

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte today for signing a gender affirming care ban (SB 99) into law.

SB 99 is a wide-ranging bill that would make it effectively impossible for health care practitioners to provide age-appropriate, best practice, gender affirming care to transgender youth. It would also forbid state employees who work with minors from “promoting” treatment for gender dysphoria, chilling the ability of educators, public health workers, child care workers, and employees of state medical facilities to be able to do their job. Recipients of Montana Medicaid and the CHIP program will not be able to receive coverage for gender-affirming care.

Following debate in the Montana House on Tuesday, Republican legislators deliberately misgendered State Rep. Zooey Zephyr and are now pushing for her to be censured for speaking against SB 99.

Governor Gianforte is an extremist, and the last thing he cares about is the well-being of transgender kids. The care he and the legislature have forbidden today is age-appropriate, best practice care supported by the entire American medical establishment - care that helps children grow into their full potential. This bill prevents certain kids from getting potentially life-saving health care simply because those kids are transgender - and that’s discrimination. Montana families deserve so much better.

Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel

This new law is one of many dangerous efforts far right political extremists and national anti-LGBTQ+ organizations are launching in Montana 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 Montana at risk. That’s why organizations including the Montana Medical Association and the state chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to the Montana Primary Care Association spoke out in opposition to SB 99 during a recent hearing before the Montana Senate Judiciary Committee.

So far in 2023, HRC is opposing more than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 210 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 120 bills that would prevent transgender youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; this year, eleven have already become law in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

  • More than 30 bathroom ban bills filed,

  • More than 100 curriculum censorship bills and 40 anti-drag performance bills.


  • 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.

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