Alabama Governor Signs Ban on Transitional Care for Transgender Youth

Alabama Governor Signs Ban on Transitional Care for Transgender Youth

Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama signed legislation Friday that prevents medical professionals from providing care that helps transgender youth transition, adopting some of the most restrictive measures in the country and threatening doctors and nurses with up to 10 years in prison. .

Ms. Ivey, a Republican, also passed legislation requiring students to use bathrooms and locker rooms for the sex listed on their original birth certificates. She also limits classroom discussions about gender and sexual orientation, a version of what critics call a “Don’t Say Gay” measure that goes further than some other states.

The law is part of a flurry of bills introduced across the country as conservative lawmakers have turned their attention to transgender and other LGBTQ issues, including limiting what doctors call gender-affirming care and banning some transgender students from participating in school sports.

“I firmly believe that if God made you a boy, you are a boy, and if God made you a girl, you are a girl,” Ivey said in a statement after signing the bills. “We should especially protect our children from these radical, life-altering drugs and surgeries when they are at such a vulnerable stage of life.”

health care law, which was approved by lawmakers on Thursday, has been condemned by the transgender community as well as the medical establishment. Opponents contend that the law, instead of protecting children as its supporters claim, targets and endangers young people who are already exceptionally vulnerable. The American Medical Association has attacked such measures such as government intrusion, blocking transition-related care that is deemed medically necessary.

The Transgender Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union, among other groups, are preparing legal challenges to prevent the legislation from being carried out. Last year, a federal court blocked Arkansas from enforcing a similar law.

“We will see the state in court and we are very confident that we will get a preliminary injunction before the law goes into effect on May 8,” said Kaitlin Welborn, staff attorney with the ACLU of Alabama. She added that transgender children in the state knew they had access to their normal health care and should continue to seek it in the meantime.

While other states have also taken steps to limit health care for transgender youth, Alabama has adopted a law that goes further than others by making it a felony to prescribe hormones or puberty-blocking drugs or perform gender-affirming surgeries. It also would not allow educators and school nurses to “encourage or coerce” students into concealing from their parents “the fact that the minor’s perception of their gender or sex is inconsistent with the minor’s sex.”

In the legislation, called the Vulnerable Children Protection and Compassion Act, its sponsors said that “children, and often their parents, may not fully understand and appreciate the risk and implications to life, including permanent sterility, that result from childbirth. use of puberty blockers. , cross-sex hormones and surgical procedures”.

On legislation regulating the use of restrooms and locker rooms, Ms. Ivey said in her statement that “here in Alabama, men use the men’s restroom and women use the women’s restroom; It’s really a no-brainer.”

He also criticized the amendment’s description of limiting classroom discussion as a “Don’t say gay” measure. “That is misleading, false and just plain wrong,” she said. “We don’t need to be teaching young children about sex. We are talking about 5 year olds for screaming loudly. We need to focus on what matters: basic instruction like reading and math.”

Collectively, activists and advocates said these laws put transgender youth at risk, hampering intensive care and inhibiting their ability to express their identity. They added that they also amplify harmful rhetoric that threatens to further marginalize a population that is at higher risk of suicide. The ACLU of Alabama said the legislation fits into a “systematic and growing attack on trans people, particularly trans youth, in all walks of life.”

“The way to reduce harm to trans youth is to provide them with gender-affirming health care where medically indicated,” said Chase Strangio of the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project in a statement. “This bill removes that life-saving treatment option and makes it a felony.

“Moving forward with this bill will be deadly for trans youth, it will drive doctors out of a state that has a shortage of medical providers, it will hurt Alabama’s economy, and it will subject the state to costly litigation.”

Hope Mzezewa contributed report.

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