Mar 7, 2023 - Politics

Georgia Senate advances bill banning transition care for trans minors

Illustration of a stethoscope with the transgender icon as the chest piece.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Georgia Senate Republicans approved a bill Monday night to prohibit certain transgender treatments for minors.

Why it matters: If it passes the state House, the legislation would prohibit medical professionals in Georgia from administering "irreversible procedures or therapies" for transgender minors, including hormone blockers and gender-affirming surgery.

The big picture: The bill is part of a national trend of Republican state lawmakers passing restrictions on gender-affirming care, Axios' Oriana Gonzalez reports.

  • Individual states have started enacting bans on gender-affirming care for trans youth in 2023, and more than 100 anti-trans health care bills have been introduced in state legislatures so far, according to data from the American Civil Liberties Union.

What they're saying: The sponsor, State Sen. Carden Summers (R-Cordele) said the bill, "is simply saying: this is a pause and we're asking for the children to be 18 years or older before they make this decision that will alter their lives forever."

  • A supporter, State Sen. Ben Watson (R-Savannah) pointed out puberty blockers will remain legal and said they'd "threaded the needle" with the bill after much research.

The other side: State Sen. Sally Harrell (D-Atlanta), who has a transgender child, spoke about the need for other help for these children, including psychotherapeutic support. "We cannot take away treatment for these kids without having something else in place. And we don't have anything else in place," she said.

  • "None of us know much about this subject. And we don't know what these kids are going through. If this bill passes...some desperate kids are going to feel more desperate," she said.

Threat level: "When young people don't receive the gender-affirming care that they need, they die," said State Sen. Kim Jackson (D-Stone Mountain).

By the numbers: Nearly one in five transgender minors attempted suicide in the past year, according to a 2022 survey by the Trevor Project.

  • 93% of transgender youth surveyed said they have worried about being denied access to gender-affirming medical care due to state or local laws.

Flashback: The Georgia legislature last year passed a bill that paved the way to ban transgender youth from participating in sports that match with their gender identity.


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