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A Georgia state representative is proposing a bill that would make it a felony for medical professionals to assist a transgender minor with transitioning.
State Rep. Ginny Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) proposed the bill, which is still being drafted, in response to a story out of Texas involving a 7-year-old child at the center of a bitter custody battle that has been shared widely on conservative media in recent weeks. The mother claims the child identifies as a girl, but the father says the child acts like a boy when in his care and accuses his ex-wife of forcing the child to transition.
Last week, a judge ruled that the parents would continue to make joint decisions about the child’s care.
In proposing the bill, Ehrhart echoed talking points that have become common for anti-transgender activists, expressing worry about children being subjected to “irreversible” procedures that carry health risks and preventing their ability to have children in the future.
Such talking points are based on the belief that children who experience gender dysphoria may only be temporarily affected and will one day grow to regret their actions.
Under current law, a parent must consent to surgery or for a minor to be prescribed medication like puberty blockers or hormones.
Ehrhart says her proposed bill would charge medical providers who administer or prescribe medications that assist in gender transition to children would be charged with a felony. There would be no penalty for doctors who work with adults to achieve a gender transition.
Specifically, Ehrhart hopes to include provisions banning minors from receiving mastectomies, vasectomies, or other operations on the genitals that are part of a gender confirmation surgery — or, in her words, “the removal of otherwise healthy or non-diseased body parts” — as well as provisions banning hormones and puberty blockers.
From Ehrhart’s perspective, children just aren’t old enough to make serious and potentially life-altering decisions when it comes to their health.
“We’re talking about children that can’t get a tattoo or smoke a cigar or a cigarette in the state of Georgia but can be castrated and get sterilized,” she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
She has also floated the idea of including penalties for parents who allow their child to undergo a gender transition.
In a press release, Ehrhart included quotes from an Atlanta-based pediatric endocrinologist, Dr. Quentin Van Meter, the president of the American College of Pediatricians, a socially conservative advocacy group of health care professionals that regularly advocates for conversion therapy and against the right of same-sex couples to adopt.
The organization, which has been classified as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is often confused with the American Academy of Pediatrics, which supports gender-affirming care for transgender individuals.
According to Van Meter, Ehrhart’s bill is needed to protect children from “medical experimentation based on wishful social theory.”
“These children are suffering from a psychological condition without biologic basis,” Van Meter said in a statement. “Using the bludgeon of threatened suicide as justification is first of all cruel, and secondly, not supported by valid published studies.”
But other medical professionals, as well as LGBTQ advocates, argue that people do not seek a gender transition without careful consideration, and that the government should not be interfering in people’s private medical decisions when the procedures they seek are based in science.
Jeff Graham, the executive director of the LGBTQ rights organization Georgia Equality, blasted Ehrhart’s proposed bill as “shameful,” saying it’s part of a dangerous trend by conservatives to “demonize and strip transgender individuals of their humanity.”
“This legislation would criminalize decisions that are made carefully within families in consultation with medical professionals and mental health professionals,” he told the Journal-Constitution. “Supporting children in recognizing their gender identity is not only humane, it saves lives and strengthens families.”
A baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple has violated Colorado's anti-discrimination law by also refusing to bake a birthday cake for a transgender woman.
Denver District Court Judge A. Bruce Jones ruled that Jack Phillips, the proprietor of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado, had discriminated against trans woman Autumn Scardina when he refused to fill an order she submitted requesting a birthday cake that was blue on the outside and pink on the inside -- with the colors representing Scardina's gender transition.
Jones also ordered Phillips to pay a fine of $500, on the grounds that he had violated the state's nondiscrimination law by refusing to bake the cake she requested simply because of her transgender status, reports Denver NBC affiliate KUSA.
Conspiracy theorist and far-right Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene launched a transphobic broadside at Caitlyn Jenner, calling her a "man in a dress."
Greene -- no stranger to anti-LGBTQ rhetoric -- lashed out at Jenner over her campaign for governor of California in the state's upcoming recall election.
Jenner, running as a Republican, appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend to speak about her campaign, which seemingly led to Greene's anti-trans tweet.
"GOP support & consultants working to elect Jenner for Governor in CA are playing the left’s stupid identity politics game," Greene wrote on Monday. "A game that sells out our faith, family, and freedoms."
On Saturday, Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough announce that the VA will be pushing for a rule change to allow transgender veterans to access gender-affirming health care, including gender confirmation surgery, that is deemed medically necessary.
Speaking at a Pride Month event for transgender veterans at the Orlando VA Healthcare System in Florida, McDonough promised to overcome the "dark history" of discrimination against the transgender community and take steps to ensure they can access the care they need.
McDonough's announcement marks a reversal from the Trump administration, which adopted a ban that resulted in the majority of transgender people being declared ineligible to serve in the military, a policy that was reversed by President Joe Biden soon after taking office earlier this year.
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