The Montana House Judiciary Committee voted largely along party lines to approve HB 113, a bill that would prohibit transgender youth from accessing any medical treatments intended to aid in a gender transition and effectively gag doctors from recommending treatments that may be in their patients’ best interests.
The bill, sponsored by State Rep. John Fuller (R-Kalispell), would penalize doctors or nurse-practitioners who prescribe hormones or puberty blockers to transgender youth who have been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. Any provider who does so could be fined anywhere from $500 to $50,000 per infraction.
Fuller’s legislation also prevents surgical interventions, even though most doctors specializing in transgender health care already discourage transgender youth from undergoing surgery before 18 except in very rare cases.
What the bill would do, in practice, is not just delay care for transgender youth, but censor medical providers through intimidation. Out of fear of being fined or facing other disciplinary measures, medical providers could refuse to correctly diagnose a child with gender dysphoria, or even acknowledge or affirm a transgender youth’s gender identity.
LGBTQ advocates worry that bills like Fuller’s, which have been introduced in a slew of Republican-led legislatures this year, will simple increase feelings of isolation and suicidal ideation among youth.
According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, more than half of transgender or nonbinary youth have seriously considered suicide, more than 3 in 4 experience extreme anxiety, and more than 2 in 3 experience sever depression.
Research dating back to 2015 has shown that gender-affirming medical interventions, such as hormones or surgery, lowers the incidence of suicidal ideation among transgender teens.
Other factors reducing risk of suicide include greater parental and social support, fewer incidents of discrimination, being recognized according to their gender identity, and having personal identification documents that match their identity.
“HB 113 is based on a basic misunderstanding of transgender youth and the decades of research and medical experience showing that this best-practice medical care is in their best interest,” Sam Brinton, the vice president of advocacy and government affairs for The Trevor Project, said in a statement. “This type of best-practice medical care for transgender youth simply delays puberty until young people are old enough to make their own decisions about their gender identity.”
Brinton added: “This bill aims to take choices away from patients and parents by preventing them from accessing gender-affirming health care, which we know from research can lead to positive effects on body image, overall psychological well-being, and reduced suicidality.”
A recent national survey conducted by The Trevor Project last year found that over 90% of LGBTQ youth said political trends — specifically anti-LGBTQ actions or legislation — negatively influenced their wellbeing.
According to a Morning Consult poll, three-quarters of transgender youth reported heightened feelings of loneliness and isolation, which typically contribute to depression and suicidal ideation, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last March.
Fuller’s bill now heads to the full House for a vote, where it is likely to pass in the Republican-dominated chamber. In past years, when Montana had a Democratic governor, LGBTQ advocates could rely on a veto to block the bill. But newly-elected Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, amassed an anti-LGBTQ record in Congress prior to his election, and is not considered an ally to the LGBTQ community.
The Judiciary Committee approved the medical intervention bill just a day after approving a measure — also sponsored by Fuller — that prohibits transgender people from competing in sporting events other than those designated for the gender that matches their assigned sex at birth.
Caitlin Borgmann, the executive director of the ACLU of Montana, said both of Fuller’s bills would cause “irrevocable harm” to transgender youth in the state if passed.
“We’re disappointed to see that the House Judiciary Committee is more interested in passing hateful laws than supporting trans youth in Montana,” Borgmann said in a statement. “As these bills move to the floor of the House, we hope lawmakers listen to Montana business leaders, medical professionals and associations, religious leaders, parents, and trans youth and oppose these harmful bills.
“If these discriminatory bills pass — we will sue, and we will win. Trying to defend laws in court that stigmatize and target trans youth doesn’t seem like a good use of taxpayer dollars to us.”
By Olivia Martin on August 25, 2022
A Japanese court has ruled that transgender women have no parental rights to their biological children born after legal gender change.
On August 15, the Tokyo High Court upheld a lower family court's decision refusing to recognize the parental rights of a transgender woman whose frozen sperm was used to conceive a child.
In its rationale, the lower court had relied on the fact that there is no law recognizing the ability of transgender individuals to parent. In fact, Japanese law requires a person to undergo sterilization before undertaking a gender transition.
The child in question is biologically related to the plaintiffs in the case, having been conceived using the sperm of the transgender woman, which had been frozen prior to transitioning, and carried to term by her cisgender partner. The couple have had two biological daughters together, with the first being born four years ago, just prior to the trans partner's legal gender change, and the second, being born afterward.
Three transgender students in Oklahoma are suing state education officials and the state's attorney general over a law passed earlier this year that requires transgender youth to use only those restroom and changing facilities that match their assigned sex at birth.
In the lawsuit, filed last week in federal court by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU of Oklahoma, the students claim that the law, which was signed into effect by Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt in May, violates their right to equal protection under the U.S. Constitution, and discriminates against them on the basis of sex, gender identity, and transgender status, in violation of Title VII of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Police in Germany have arrested a 20-year-old suspect in connection with the death of a 25-year-old transgender man who was attacked following a Pride parade in Münster, Germany, last month.
The victim, who has only identified in German media by his first name, Malte, had come to the aid of two women harassed with homophobic slurs, including being called "lesbian whores," by an unknown man after leaving the western German city's Christopher Street Day event on Aug. 27.
The man then attacked Malte, knocking him to the ground and beating him until he was unconscious.
Malte suffered serious injuries in the attack and was placed in a medically-induced coma, ultimately dying from his injuries on Friday morning, according to Münster police.
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