Dropped in Utah is a bill directed at transgender youth medical healthcare. This is a bill that has been expected, as it was presented at the October Interim HHS Committee.
At the high level, this bill bans any surgeries for transgender youth considered transition related. Additionally, this makes an exception for intersex surgeries that are typically performed on infants/toddlers.
Let’s talk about this some. First, in the interim session, it was recognizedly by the sponsor that the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care (SOC) was affirmed by the Endocrine Society and that was presented as positive affirmation. I strongly agree. Further the SOC is supported by the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics along with 26 other major medical organizations. What had been confused is the SOC recommends that genital surgeries wait until the person is 18. That was misinterpreted. Genital surgery only means bottom surgeries while other surgeries, called secondary sex characteristic surgeries in this bill, are referenced as gender affirming surgeries in the SOC. So let’s look at what the SOC says.
First in SOC section 10.9 it recommends delaying genital surgery. This we support because contrary to some narratives, we are about proper and healthy transitions and healthcare. Again, these are the bottom surgeries only. Then what was missed in Interim was that what we call Top surgery, or the bill calls secondary sex characteristic surgery, is recommended with proper care. This is referenced in the SOC as gender affirming surgery. Section 13.7 is quoted below.
“We recommend surgeons consider gender-affirming surgical interventions for eligible* transgender & gender diverse adolescents when there is evidence a multidisciplinary approach that includes mental health & medical professionals has been involved in the decision-making process.
Again, remember this is supported by major medical organizations that do peer reviewed research and ongoing analysis like the AMA, AAP, and Endocrine Society among many others.
So now the harm piece. You might ask why we would be concerned about a bill banning bottom surgeries that we agree we can wait on. Harm does not always come from a bill becoming a law, sometimes it is having a bill come up about you and listening to your humanity be debated. Then we add in that this bill removes the option of top surgeries that are medically and therapeutically supported. The research has been done and the professionals have given their thoughts across all organizations. PS: the WPATH SOC are now 43 years old, so this isn’t new. When you look at the impact of a bill that targets healthcare that is actually not given and healthcare that is medically proven, the rhetoric and misinformation that are heard in the media are heard by our youth. The harmful mental health impacts are tremendous.
I keep hearing transgender healthcare is new. It may be new to some but it wasn’t new to Dr Magnus Hirschfeld who administered it a century ago. It isn’t that this is new, but it is news to many. The solution is education, but we shouldn’t harm our youth in the process.
And as final thought, we keep hearing about parent’s rights. Here we have well research medical care and the decisions are all laid out between the *parents*, doctors, and mental health providers. If you honor this, you honor parent’s rights.