MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WHNT) – Lawmakers in the Alabama Senate approved a bill 24-6 on Thursday that would criminalize hormone treatments for transgender youth.
Under SB184, the prescription or administration of puberty-blocking medications or gender-reassigning hormone treatments to a minor would be a felony. Violators could face up to 10 years in prison.
“It’s devastating for trans youth,” said Trans Family Support Services Founder and Executive Director Kathie Moehlig. “To have your rights taken away for medically necessary care that doctors and professionals agree is necessary and your family is in alignment that this is important care for my child and their life and wellbeing. It’s devastating to think that a politician can take that away from us in this country.”
The bill would also require school personnel including teachers, administrators and counselors to report information about a student’s gender identity to their parents.
“It’s putting a tremendous pressure on teachers and other professionals to get involved in matters that are family matters, that are matters between families and doctors,” Moehlig said. “Our teachers have their hands’ full teaching and they should be allowed to teach freely without having these extra pieces put on top of them.”
Trans Family Support Services Alabama Program Manager Mani Blunt said the best way to protect trans kids is to improve access to mental health resources.
“Support is suicide prevention,” Blunt said. “The suicide rate is elevated for transgender youth.”
The bill mentions implementing a “wait-and-see” approach, claiming that studies show that pre-pubescent children with gender discordance will outgrow it once they go through puberty.
Many major medical organizations including the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics, have published comprehensive care guides for young transgender patients that include gender affirmation.
“When a youth has declared a gender identity outside of their sex assigned at birth, the protocol is to affirm them and give them access to medically necessary care and the mental healthcare they might need,” Moehlig said.
The American Medical Association has released a statement opposing legislation that bans physicians from providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth.
“A lot of these representatives have admitted that they do not know a trans person, so they are not coming from a very educated or informed perspective,” Blunt said.
SB184 arrives on the tail of legislation banning transgender students from using the bathroom of their choice in schools. Students would be required to use bathrooms and locker rooms that aligned with the gender listed on their birth certificate. That bill passed the House by a vote of 74-24 on Feb 22. The future of it will be determined by the Alabama Senate.
Trans Family Support Services offers resources and support to trans youth and their families.