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N.C. Legislature Pushes Limits on Trans Youth Rights Near Session's End

Tuesday, 20 June 2023 05:27 PM EDT

Transgender rights took center stage Tuesday in North Carolina as the GOP-controlled General Assembly advanced legislation to restrict gender-transition health care and trans participation in sports.

The legislative push comes in the dwindling days of the North Carolina session and as many Republican-led state legislatures round out a record year of legislation targeting transgender residents.

Hours after the House Health Committee advanced a bill banning state facilities from treating trans minors with hormones and gender surgeries, the Senate voted 31-17 to ban trans girls from playing on school sports teams that align with their gender identity. One Democrat — Sen. Val Applewhite of Cumberland County — and all Republicans voted yes.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper has little power to block legislation now that Republicans hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers.

Sen. Kevin Corbin, a Macon County Republican and one of the primary sponsors, argued on the Senate floor that the bill “is not against anybody” and is a necessary precaution to protect female athletes. But Wake County Democratic Sen. Lisa Grafstein, the only out LGBTQ+ state senator, criticized him for advancing during Pride Month a bill she said targets a vulnerable minority group “because of a nationalized agenda to dehumanize them for political points.”

The bill prohibiting trans girls from playing on girls' middle school, high school and college sports teams could return to the House floor for a final concurrence vote as early as Wednesday. Both chambers passed different versions before legislative leaders opted to proceed with the House bill.

House members gutted the Senate version Tuesday morning, using it as a vehicle to resurrect gender care restrictions that some trans minors, like 15-year-old Rowan Bilodeau of Pittsboro, said would limit their access to vital treatments.

“My access to gender-affirming care saved my life," he said. "I want others to have that same opportunity. I'm tired of seeing my brothers and sisters die because they're being denied their rights.”

Trans youth already experience higher rates of suicidal ideation than their cisgender peers, he told lawmakers, and this legislation could make that tragic situation even worse.

The proposal would prohibit public health care facilities, including public hospitals and University of North Carolina affiliates, from performing any surgical gender transition procedure on a minor or providing them with puberty-blocking drugs or cross-sex hormones. Beginning Oct. 1, it would also prohibit using state funds to pay for any gender transition procedure.

Treatments for gender dysphoria are considered safe and medically necessary by the leading professional health associations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the Endocrine Society. While trans minors very rarely receive surgical interventions, they are commonly prescribed drugs to delay puberty and sometimes begin taking hormones before they reach adulthood.

Rep. Timothy Reeder, a Pitt County Republican, urged lawmakers to reject claims that gender care is safe and well-researched.

“The bill is not an attempt to limit treatment for children suffering from gender dysphoria or those struggling to form their identity," he said. "Rather, it seeks to limit children from potentially life-altering treatments before they are truly able to understand and consent to these interventions.”

The debate Tuesday drew Prisha Mosley, a prominent advocate against gender care, who told legislators she “suffered severe and lasting injuries” from the gender-transition treatments she received as a minor growing up in North Carolina. Mosely, now 25, said a counselor convinced her at age 17 that she was actually a boy, leading her to take testosterone and receive surgery to remove her breasts at age 18.

She is now part of a small group of “detransitioners,” or people who have stopped or reversed their gender transition, who have traveled this year to statehouses nationwide to affirm Republican claims that procedures offered to minors are irreversible and that regret is common. In treatment guidelines issued last year, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health said evidence of later regret is scant.

A Senate committee will hear a different bill Wednesday morning that bans gender surgeries for transgender minors. That proposal passed the House last month. And after four months of inaction on the measure, a House committee will consider a bill Wednesday that requires public schools to alert parents before they call a student by a different name or pronoun.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


Politics
Transgender rights took center stage Tuesday in North Carolina as the GOP-controlled General Assembly advanced legislation to restrict gender-transition health care and trans participation in sports.The legislative push comes in the dwindling days of the North Carolina...
transgender sports gender affirming care north carolina
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2023-27-20
Tuesday, 20 June 2023 05:27 PM
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