Utah 1st state to ban gender-affirming care for trans youth

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed legislation Jan. 28 that prohibits transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming healthcare.

The legislation bans healthcare providers from performing gender-affirming surgery on a minor. It also prohibits hormone  therapy for minors who were not diagnosed with gender dysphoria before the bill took effect. 

Mr. Cox said the legislation comes as experts, states and countries worldwide are pausing these "permanent and life-altering treatments" for new patients until more and better research is conducted regarding long-term effects.

"We will continue to push the Legislature for additional resources to organizations that work to help this important Utah community," he said. "While we understand our words will be of little comfort to those who disagree with us, we sincerely hope that we can treat our transgender families with more love and respect as we work to better understand the science and consequences behind these procedures."

The law signed in Utah is the first such measure in the U.S. this year, according to The New York Times. Lawmakers in other states have also introduced bills to restrict access to gender-affirming care for transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

The proposed bills come after 436 openly LGBTQ candidates won their 2022 midterm elections, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a political action committee.

The proposed bills also come after a Human Rights Campaign report released in December identified online harassment campaigns against 24 hospitals and medical providers who offer gender-affirming care for transgender, nonbinary and questioning youth.

In October, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and Children's Hospital Association asked the Justice Department to investigate the organizations, individuals and entities responsible for the threats and harassment. Lawmakers have also joined medical associations in asking the Justice Department to step in to protect hospitals that have reported threats and harassment over medical care they provide to transgender children.

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