North Carolina Bill Would Ban Gender-Affirming Care For Trans People Under 21

It would also require teachers to out trans students to their parents.

A person curled up on the bed

You might think that licensed medical professionals are best equipped to make medical decisions, but three state senators in North Carolina disagree. They just introduced a bill, the Youth Health Protection Act, that substitutes a one-size-fits-all anti-trans ideology for the judgment of doctors, counselors, and others trained to provide gender-affirming care to young transgender people.

After emphasizing that sex is “genetically encoded into a person at the moment of conception, and it cannot be changed,” the bill advocates for a “wait-and-see” approach to allow children to “resolve an identity congruent with their sex by late adolescence.”

A wait-and-see approach might be appropriate in some cases, but in many cases, it can mean real pain for young people forced to live in a way that isn’t congruent with how they want to live. The experts know how to tell the difference between these situations; this bill would remove their ability to act on that knowledge, making doing their jobs illegal.

What Would This Bill Do?

If passed, this bill would make it illegal for anyone to perform surgeries or administer the medications often prescribed by doctors to young trans people to anyone under the age of 21 that include puberty blockers or hormones. That’s right, this bill defines 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds as “minors.” If they disobeyed this provision, medical professionals would face potential suspension of their license and a fine of $1,000 per occurrence.

The bill would also give parents the right to deny their child gender-affirming care, essentially legalizing negligence. It also mandates that all state employees notify parents in writing if they notice a child displaying “gender nonconformity.”

If a student opened up to their teacher about personal issues of gender, the teacher would have a legal obligation to out them to their parents, a move that would often put the young person in danger.

The bill also outlaws the use of state funds, directly or directly, for any gender transition procedure, including government health plans or government-offered insurance policies. It comes in the wake of the Arkansas legislature’s override of the governor’s veto of a similarly anti-trans law, and it’s provoking similarly outraged responses from advocates for trans youth.

“Transgender youth have the best chance to thrive when they are supported and affirmed, not singled out and denied critical care that is backed by virtually every leading health authority,” said a statement from the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality told the AP, adding that “a person’s gender identity shouldn’t limit their ability to access health care or be treated with dignity and respect.”

Will It Pass?

The proposal is unlikely to become law even with Republican majorities in the state House and Senate. The governor is a Democrat, after all, and even North Carolinians who might be sympathetic to the aims of the bill remember the embarrassing costly controversy of the so-called “bathroom bill,” which passed in 2016 and was partially repealed a year later.