A Vicious Attack on Innocent Youth: Gov. Brian Kemp Signs Gender-Affirming Care Ban Into Law, Making Georgia Largest State to Legislatively Enact Such a Discriminatory Ban
Every Major Medical Association - Representing More than 1.3 Million Doctors - Supports Age-Appropriate, Medically Necessary Care
ATLANTA - March 23, 2023 - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) - the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization - denounced Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to sign into law Senate Bill 140, legislation that will deny gender-affirming care to transgender and nonbinary youth in flagrant defiance of the best practices recommended by every major medical association.
With this act, Georgia becomes the largest state to have enacted such a ban through legislation. This comes on the heels of a report from HRC this week indicating that more than half (50.4%) of transgender youth (ages 13-17) have lost or are at risk of losing access to age appropriate, medically necessary gender-affirming care in their state - care which is, in many cases, life-saving.
Cathryn Oakley, Human Rights Campaign State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel, released the following statement in response:
"Governor Kemp should be ashamed of himself - taking life-saving care away from vulnerable youth is a disgusting and indefensible act. This law harms transgender youth and terrorizes their families, but helps no one - there will just be young people left without medically-necessary, age-appropriate care, parents stripped of the ability to get their kids the care they need, and the entire transgender community in Georgia feeling like they are unwelcome in their own state. This is politics at its worst, passing policies that harm real people just to appease a small number of extremist anti-LGBTQ+ activists. It is discrimination, pure and simple."
Likely voters in Georgia do not support SB140. Polling by Patinkin Research Strategies released this month shows that only 26 percent of likely November 2024 voters in Georgia supported the legislation, while 66 percent opposed it. Opposition was significant across party lines, with 73 percent of Democrats, 63 percent of independents and 59 percent of Republicans opposing the discriminatory legislation.
Polling released by HRC in November, following the midterm election, showed that attacking transgender people was ineffective in terms of motivating voters. In the survey, HRC asked voters which specific issues motivated them to vote in 2022. Inflation (52 percent) and abortion (29 percent) ranked first and second on the list. Less than 5 percent identified gender affirming care for transgender youth or transgender participation in sports as issues motivating them to vote, last on this list.
The Georgia Psychological Association recently came out in opposition to Senate Bill 140, saying "Legislative mandates that place restrictions on gender-affirming healthcare interfere with a child's and their parents'/guardians' autonomy in making healthcare decisions; interfere with a healthcare provider's ability to use practice standards and relevant research to guide their work; and are at odds with the relevant research, standards of care, and clinical expertise."
So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 450 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. Approximately 190 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.
This year, HRC is tracking:
- More than 110 bills that would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; six had previously become law, in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah and Iowa,
- More bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year,
- More than 85 curriculum censorship bills and 35 anti-drag performance bills.
In a coordinated push led by national anti-LGBTQ+ groups, which deployed vintage discriminatory tropes, politicians in statehouses across the country introduced 315 discriminatory anti-LGBTQ+ bills in 2022 and 29 passed into law. Despite this, fewer than 10% of these efforts succeeded. The majority of the discriminatory bills - 149 bills - targeted the transgender and non-binary community, with the majority targeting children receiving the brunt of discriminatory legislation. By the end of the 2022 legislative session, a record 17 bills attacking transgender and non-binary children passed into law.
Get the facts about gender-affirming care:
- Every credible medical organization - representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States - calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people.
- "Transition-related" or "gender-affirming" care looks different for every transgender and non-binary person.
- Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.
- Gender transition is a personal process that can include changing clothes, names, and hairstyles to fit a person's gender identity.
- Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions is their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor.
- Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time that are in the best interest of the child.
- In most young children, this care can be entirely social. This means:
- New name
- New hairstyle
- New clothing
- None of this care is irreversible.
- Being transgender is not new.
- Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new - but that's because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years.
- But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass.
- And very few transgender people change their mind.
- ALL gender-affirming care is:
- Medically necessary
- Supported by all major medical organizations
- Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents
- And in many cases, this care is lifesaving!
- A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this - transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide.
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.