Metro Weekly

North Carolina Senate president says there will be no vote to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth

But Phil Berger won't say whether he'll call for a vote on a bill to ban trans female athletes from women's sports.

north carolina
North Carolina Senate President Phil Berger – Photo: Facebook.

North Carolina Senate President Phil Berger has quashed the prospect of passing a bill that would ban transgender youth under age 21 from receiving any medical care that accompanies a gender transition.

In recent weeks, it appeared Republicans in the General Assembly were on a crash course with Gov. Roy Cooper (D) over a slate of various bills attacking LGBTQ rights or protections.

But Pat Ryan, a spokesperson for Berger, said the bill would not receive an up-or-down vote in the upper chamber, thereby killing it for the session.

“We do not see a pathway to Senate Bill 514 becoming law,” Ryan told NPR affiliate WFAE, saying it would not receive a floor vote.

SB 514 would also require government employees, including teachers, to inform them in writing if their child displays signs of gender nonconformity, and would enshrine a right for practitioners of conversion therapy to continue subjecting LGBTQ-identifying youth to it, even though there is little scientific evidence that therapists can actually deliver on their promises to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Opponents say the bill, and pieces of legislation like it, are mean-spirited, and unfairly target the transgender community for disparate treatment.

Arkansas lawmakers passed a similar law in their own state, even overriding a veto issued by Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), all the while claiming they were protecting children.

Hutchinson said the bill was an example of “overreach,” interfering in extremely personal medical decisions made by a youth, their parent or guardian, and a medical provider.

Related: North Carolina Republicans want to force teachers to “out” trans students to their parents

The bill comes five years after lawmakers passed the infamous HB 2, a “bathroom bill” that barred transgender people from using multi-user restroom and changing facilities in government building.

That bill’s passage sparked a significant economic backlash against the state, costing an estimated $3.76 billion in potential investment over a 10-year period after opponents of the law mounted boycotts, scuttled planned expansions of businesses, canceled concerts and conventions, and relocated several sporting events in protest.

North Carolina lawmakers have also introduced a bill seeking to bar transgender females from competing in women’s sports at the high school and collegiate level, as well as a bill allowing insurers and employers to refuse to pay for certain types of medical procedures.

But Ryan refused to comment on the other two bills, saying Berger doesn’t comment on legislation from the House until after it’s received by the Senate.

Equality North Carolina, the state’s top LGBTQ organization, took to Twitter to celebrate Berger’s announcement that the health care bill would receive no vote in the upper chamber.

“This is welcome news, but the trauma and impact of these bills on the trans community over the past few weeks have been horrifying,” the group tweeted. “Legislators who sponsored this bill, and the other two anti-trans bills at the NCGA, have blood on their hands.”

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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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