Metro Weekly

Utah GOP Resolution Seeks to Block Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Minors

Co-sponsor of the resolution hopes it will lead to passage of a statewide ban on transition-related treatments.

Utah State Capitol – Photo: Rene Schwietzke, via Flickr.

The Utah Republican Party has passed a resolution looking to ban gender-affirming care for minors in the state.

Titled “Protecting Those Most Vulnerable,” the resolution supports banning all gender-affirming procedures for transgender minors, including gender confirmation surgeries, hormone therapy, and puberty blockers, calling such treatments “harmful and irreversible.”

The statement by the GOP State Central Committee reads: “The Utah Republican Party fully supports the banning of affirmation surgeries, hormone therapy, and puberty-blocking procedures for the purpose of elective gender transitioning on minors. We stand behind all of our elected officials in their efforts against these harmful and irreversible procedures being performed on Utah’s children.”

In a conversation with Salt Lake City FOX affiliate KSTU, Carson Jorgensen, the chairman of the Utah Republican Party and a co-sponsor of the resolution, compared gender-affirming care to other age-restricted activities that are off limits to minors.

“We don’t let them drink until they’re 21. We don’t let them get tattoos until they’re 18,” he said. “This should be no different.”

Jorgensen hopes that the resolution, which has been co-sponsored by Utah Senate President J. Stuart Adams and House Speaker Brad Wilson, will encourage Republicans to support a ban prohibiting minors from accessing gender-affirming care and penalizing doctors who prescribe such treatments to trans youth. A similar bill was introduced in this year’s legislative session, but failed to gain traction.

Jessica Dunmar, co-CEO of the Utah Pride Center, told KSTU that the process of receiving gender-affirming care is not as easy to obtain as Republicans would have Utahns believe. She also fears that trans minors’ mental health will further decline without having the option of medically transitioning.

“You need to have multiple letters from mental health therapists agreeing with this, with the procedures,” she said, explaining the process of obtaining gender-affirming care. “Then you need to have a medical doctor also in support.”

Dunmar is wary of future legislation, like that being proposed by Jorgensen, that interferes with parents’ ability to make decisions regarding their own children’s health care. 

“This is really an interesting approach to a state that likes to think that it champions parents’ rights,” she said.

The passage of the resolution on gender-affirming care coincides with Third District Court Judge Keith Kelly hearing arguments over whether to block the state’s transgender athlete ban. Three transgender girls and their families have sued Utah’s High School Activities Association and school districts regarding the law, which bars transgender girls from participating on female-designated sports teams.

The three athletes claim the law is discriminatory and unconstitutional. Kelly is expected to issue a written ruling on whether to block the law from being enforced. If he issues an injunction, a seven-person commission will be created to determine athlete eligibility going forward.

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