Montana House Passes Anti-Transgender Legislation

by HRC Staff

Helena, Montana — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned today’s vote in the Montana House to approve SB99, 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 would also no longer be able to receive reimbursement for gender-affirming care. The bill, which has already passed the Montana Senate, now heads to Gov. Greg Gianforte’s desk.

Decisions about whether and when to pursue best practice, age appropriate gender-affirming care should be made by a patient, their parents, and their doctor - not the Montana legislature. This care is recommended by the entire mainstream American medical establishment, and Montanans have had enough with political interference with people’s intimate medical choices. Legislators don’t belong in doctor’s offices with parents and transgender youth. This bill is a betrayal of Montana’s values and will do real, lasting harm to too many young people who deserve so much better.”

Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel

This proposed 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 last month during a hearing before the Montana Senate Judiciary Committee.

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 35 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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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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