The topic of transition for young people has been a hotly debated subject in the recent political machine. A recent wave of proposals for anti-trans legislation has been surfacing in a number of states. One of which, South Dakota, recently shut down one such proposal.
The Health and Human Services Committee of the South Dakota State Senate voted 5-2 to terminate HB 1057, the so-called “Vulnerable Child Protection Act,” which was attempting to prohibit transition-related treatment, such as puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy, and trans-minor surgery. The bill’s opponents say it would cut transgender kids off from gender-affirming treatment that save lives.
In those Senate hearings, one interesting trend surfaced regarding the hearing’s speakers. So far, state committee hearings on these measures in South Dakota and Florida have both included a similar group of out-of-state bill proponents from the Family Policy Alliance, the Kelsey Group, and the Women’s Liberation Front, a self-described radical feminist group dedicated to fighting transgender rights. These groups have sought to use carefully crafted detransition and transition remorse accounts from around the world to create their own story of transition treatment for minors. Their rhetoric is directly opposed to advice given by leading medical organizations.
Compiled in a report by the Trevor Project, study after study has shown that supporting trans and gender fluid children in self-exploration increases mental health and reduces the risk of suicide. The affirming model, which allows children to discover their gender identities at their own rate, and may include puberty blockers, has been recommended by nearly every major American medical association, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the Endocrine Society, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Still many states have been pushing even more extreme measures. Missouri’s bill would immediately refer to Child Protective Services for child abuse any parent who declares their child’s trans identity with medical care, and any physicians found to be administering blockers or hormones to minors would have their medical licenses revoked. Kentucky proposes to go one step further by focusing on other conservative anti-trans priorities: allowing either parent to override transition care consent, a right that the state cannot override; and requiring all government agents to disclose to parents whether a child has sexual dysphoria or gender-variant behavior.
While the flurry of anti-trans legislation may be worrisome, the local response to stop these bills has been inspiring. In both South Dakota and Florida, LGBTQ people and supporters have united to fight the measures. Conservative South Dakota State Senator Arthur Rusch noted at yesterday’s meeting that he had more community feedback on HB 1057 than any other legislation in his six years in office before deciding to table the bill.
Quinncy Parke, a non-binary 17-year-old, spoke against the bill Monday before the House. “I wasn’t going to let this pass,” Parke told NewNextNow. “I stood up against this once. They didn’t listen before. I’m going to keep doing it until they listen.”
Now with two victories in this growing battle over youth transitions, the LGBTQ+ community and its allies won’t be going down without a fight.