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West Virginia governor signs ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth

West Virginia’s extremist Republican Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill that bans gender-affirming care for transgender minors. With this, it joins at least nine other states in America to have enacted laws restricting or outlawing medically-supported treatments for transgender youth members of the LGBTQIA community.

Photo by Walter Martin from Unsplash.com

Another anti-transgender bill signed in the US of A.

West Virginia’s extremist Republican Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill that bans gender-affirming care for transgender minors. With this, it joins at least nine other states in America to have enacted laws restricting or outlawing medically-supported treatments for transgender youth members of the LGBTQIA community.

The bill – which takes effect in January 2024 – specifically outlaws those under 18 from being prescribed hormone therapy and fully-reversible puberty blockers, and bans minors from receiving gender-affirming surgery. The law similarly specifies how a patient can be prescribed puberty blockers and hormone therapy – i.e. after receiving parental consent, and after getting a diagnosis of severe gender dysphoria from two doctors, including a mental health provider (gender dysphoria is defined as severe psychological distress experienced by those whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth).

There’s a silver lining, if it can be called that – i.e. unlike the measures passed in other states, West Virginia’s law permits doctors to prescribe medical therapy if a teenager is considered at risk for self-harm or suicide. This means that a young transgender person may only be helped if he/she/they are already about to harm or kill themselves.

Already, 11 states now have laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for minors: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, South Dakota and West Virginia. Federal judges blocked enforcement of such laws in Alabama and Arkansas.

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