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HRC blasts Utah legislature for passing ban on healthcare for transgender minors. Urges veto.

The Human Rights Campaign Friday condemned the passing of SB 16, advanced by the Utah Senate that, if signed into law, will effectively ban the provision of gender-affirming care to transgender patients under the age of 18. It will now head to the desk of Gov. Spencer Cox for a signature or veto.

The group said in a statement that the move comes amidst ongoing far-right pressure placed upon lawmakers spearheaded by political extremists and disinformation campaigns on social media and other platforms. This bill is one of many being pushed by national anti-LGBTQ+ organizations across dozens of states that are designed to take aim at age-appropriate, life-saving, medically necessary care for transgender youth.

“Today, Utah legislators capitulated to extremism and fear-mongering, and by doing so, shamelessly put the lives and well-being of young Utahans at risk — young transgender folks who are simply trying to navigate life as their authentic selves,” said Cathryn Oakley, HRC’s state legislative director and senior counsel. “Every parent wants and deserves access to the highest quality health care for our kids. This discriminatory legislation bans care that is age-appropriate and supported by every major medical association representing more than 1.3 million doctors.”

“Medical decisions are best left to medical experts and parents or guardians, not politicians without an ounce of medical training acting as if they know how to raise and support our children better than we do,” Oakley continued. “Last year, Governor Cox vetoed anti-transgender legislation and expressed compassion for young transgender Utahns, saying, ‘I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy, and compassion,’ and ‘Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few. I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do. But I want them to live.’”

Oakley went on to urge the governor to “once again exhibit this compassion and veto this harmful bill that is motivated by fear and animus, not science, and certainly not the well-being of these youth.”

The group released information about gender-affirming care:

  • 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 hair style
      • 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 minds.
  • 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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