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Wyoming Will Implement Gender-Affirming Care Ban Unless Vetoed by Governor

This gender-affirming care ban will lead to “fewer kids grow[ing] up,” one advocate said.

The Wyoming Capitol is seen in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Both houses of the Wyoming legislature approved a gender-affirming care ban for transgender youth on Thursday. If Gov. Mark Gordon (R) does not veto Senate File 99, the bill will automatically become law within three business days.

“Like all health care, health care for transgender youth is individualized and based on the needs of each particular person,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Wyoming said in a statement. “Senate File 99 …would take away private health care choices around the provision of medical care consistent with prevailing medical and scientific standards. Such choices should be made between a doctor and a patient, not politicians.”

Under this bill, doctors and health care practitioners in the state who administer hormonal therapies and puberty blockers to transgender youth could face suspension or revocation of their licenses.

“This bill puts physicians in conflict. Physicians have a sense of confusion, a sense of despair that we may lose our license just because we’re practicing medicine in the way that we think is properly conducted,” Joseph Horam, a pediatrician in the state, testified in a recent committee meeting. “This is affecting physician recruitment in the state of Wyoming. This will be a factor that says, ‘Well, that’s just one less obstacle I want to take on.’”

According to the ACLU, Wyoming is currently advancing multiple anti-LGBTQ bills in the legislature. In addition to Senate File 99, the legislature has also introduced bills that would “out” LGBTQ students to their parents and prohibit government entities from engaging in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs. While transgender journalist and activist Erin Reed currently lists the state as “medium risk,” for transgender youth, these bills, if passed, would push the state to “high risk.”

“Across the country and right here in Wyoming, lawmakers are sticking their noses into matters they shouldn’t — specifically health care decisions that have been traditionally reserved for parents,” said Antonio Serrano, ACLU of Wyoming advocacy director. “Anytime policymakers spread lies and misinformation about trans people and their medical care, it’s dangerous. We don’t need a law that substitutes the state’s judgment for that of loving parents who are following the guidance of their children and the advice of doctors.”

If Senate File 99 is signed into law, Wyoming would become the 23rd state to bar transgender youth from accessing gender-affirming care, despite gender-affirming care being endorsed by virtually all major medical organizations. In fact, a recent report published by the American Academy of Pediatrics asserts that restricting transgender youth’s access to gender-affirming care “amount[s] to state-sanctioned medical neglect and emotional abuse.”

Research shows that access to gender-affirming care vastly reduces rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation for transgender youth. Additionally, despite far right talking points saying otherwise, a new study found that only 1 percent of transgender youth who receive gender-affirming care later detransitioned, or re-identified with the sex assigned to them at birth.

“The result of legislation like this won’t be that fewer kids grow up to be trans, it will be that fewer kids grow up,” Serrano said.

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