Utah Rep. Brad Daw has agreed to sponsor a Utah Eagle Forum-proposed bill that would make it illegal for a doctor to prescribe hormone therapy or perform gender reassignment surgery to transgender minors. The bill is still being drafted.
Daw did say that the bill would allow puberty blockers — medications that temporarily put puberty on hold.
However, Transgender Education Advocates of Utah leaders are concerned about the bill.
“We are alarmed by the impact it could have on our community as well as the unintended consequences that may arise when legislators get between patients and their providers,” TEA released in a statement.
“Transgender and intersex children and their families already face significant barriers to receiving the treatment they need, and medical and mental health guidelines for standards of care already exist.”
The group said issues such as medical care for the transgender population are widely misunderstood, and the legislation surrounding it often is used as a wedge issue.
“TEA looks forward to this opportunity to educate our neighbors about the vast body of research that has already been done to ensure the safety of children in our community.”
Such a bill is terrifying to a Roy, Utah family, who said that their child was withdrawn and angry before they came out as transgender at the age of 12.
Working with doctors and a counselor, Dex began wearing their hair shorter and clothes generally aligned with boys. Doctors prescribed puberty blockers and, over time, testosterone.
“As parents we were completely thrown, to say the least,” Robyn Rumsey told the Associated Press. “It wasn’t a decision that was taken lightly.”
Dex had considered suicide before coming out, Robyn said, and if he didn’t have access to hormones she worries those thoughts would return.
Now Dex is 15, happy and thriving, Robyn said. She also said they are considering surgery later this year.
“We have seen this child completely turn around,” Robyn said. “I know that it would be a life or death situation for my son. We would be desperate to find help and medication for him.”
Dex told AP that the blockers and testosterone have changed their life.
“I was never comfortable under my own skin. I always felt wrong, disgusting and I hated myself. These hormones have allowed me to feel comfortable with who I am. It’s allowed me to be happier. I don’t hate myself, I’m not depressed, I don’t feel suicidal anymore,” they said.
Equality Utah stated, “These reckless bills endanger youth and deny them access to life-saving care. We will need all of you to contact your representative to demand that these extreme anti-transgender bills never see Governor Herbert’s desk. We will stand united to protect transgender youth.”
Dex Rumsey said if such a bill were to pass in Utah, they’d want to leave the state. “I don’t think they realize the damage these types of things are causing,”