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Utah anti-trans bills reintroduced

Two bills restricting the rights of transgender people that didn’t make it through last year’s Utah State Legislative Session have been reintroduced.

HB-11, Student Athletics Participation, sponsored by Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, restricts transgender girl participation in school sports.

HB-127, Medical Practice Amendments, sponsored by Rep. Rex P. Shipp, R-Cedar City bans doctors from performing “medically unnecessary puberty inhibition procedure or a sex characteristic-altering procedure on a minor.”

HB-11, Transgender participation in Sports

HB-11, allows transgender high school girls to compete if they have had one year of hormone therapy and changed the sex designation on their birth certificate.

The current requirement from the Utah High School Activities Association requires a year of hormone therapy, but not a changed birth certificate.

Birkeland says the bill is the result of negotiations between her, Equality Utah, the ACLU, parents, coaches, and UHSAA. The bill addresses only students in school years 9–12.

Equality Utah attorney Clifford Rosky said the group is considering endorsing the bill if the legislation clearly states that puberty blockers count as qualifying hormone therapy and the birth certificate requirement is removed.

During the committee meeting, Birkeland said she viewed puberty blockers as qualifying as the hormone therapy required in the bill, although that’s not explicitly stated in it.

Rosky did raise the concern of the requirement to have the birth certificate changed by a judge.

“It’s requiring students to pay court fees and hire a lawyer to go through a court process and that is quite expensive,” he said. “That’s a big barrier for a lot of students.”

Birkeland said the birth certificate change is proof that a family is serious about the gender change.
The Utah Supreme Court ruled this year that judges should grant requests for transgender people to change the gender on their birth certificate.

A state legislative committee discussed tweaking that ruling with a new statute.

Transgender activist Sue Robbins said she appreciated the work Birkeland did since the end of the last legislative session, though she’s worried about other expected legislation like a ban on hormone therapy for minors and a ban on changing sex markers on birth certificates. Both of those proposals, she said, could undermine Birkeland’s bill.

HB-127, Transgender treatment of minors

HB-127 limits attempts or efforts to change an individual’s body to present that individual as being of a sex or gender that is different from the individual’s biological “sex at birth” to those under 18 years of age.

“Utah Legislators generally don’t want to get involved in decisions between parents and medical professionals and this is a Republican principle,” said Robbins. “This bill has a hard path ahead of it but it angers me that our youth even have to know it exists. This needs to go away as quickly as possible.”

The 2022 Utah Legislative Session is scheduled from Jan. 18 to March 4, 2022.

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