Metro Weekly

Utah Republican introduces bill to study medications used to help transgender youth transition

Advocates say there's already sufficient information about the medications widely available

Rep. Brad Daw – Photo: Facebook.

A new bill introduced in the Utah Legislature seeks to create a study of certain medications that are prescribed to transgender youth in order to help them transition.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Brad Daw (R-Orem), would create such a study, and direct it to “conduct a review of any available scientific research related to the administration of a gonadotropin releasing hormone agent to a minor for the purpose of facilitating the minor’s desire to present or appear in a manner that is inconsistent with the minor’s sex, and any side effects of that use.”

Daw, told Salt Lake City’s FOX 13 in a text message that in investigating the topic of minors who undergo a gender transition, he became concerned about the short-term and long-term side effects of puberty blockers that are used to assist in a transition.

“I believe that having the state take a closer at this is worth doing,” Daw said.

If approved, the bill would require any information about transition-related medications to be submitted by November to the Utah State Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee.

The doctor in charge of running the study would be required to have a degree in medicine, pharmacology or a related field, according to the bill.

Opponents of the bill worry that the study may be used by opponents of transgender rights to propose more sweeping bills — similar to those introduced in other states this year — to restrict minors’ ability to access to hormones or puberty blockers by punishing prescribers.

“It’s a much better bill in terms of not trying to restrict people’s access,” Candice Metzler, the director of Transgender Education Advocates of Utah, told FOX 13 when comparing it to legislation in other states. 

But Metzler said her group still does not support the bill, arguing that there is already government-funded and peer-reviewed research on the subject that is easy enough for lawmakers to access if they so wish.

She also objects to language in the bill referring to a minor’s biological sex.

“Sex is not what people identify with,” said Metzler. “I just think part of the problem is the language further complicates things and it does leave questions about what the purpose of the study is.”

Related:

Georgia Republican wants to make helping transgender children transition a felony

South Carolina Republican wants to ban transition-related care for transgender youth

South Dakota Senate kills bill to ban medical treatments for transgender youth

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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