South Carolina wants to ban lifesaving medical treatments for trans kids
November 24, 2019 7:45 AM   Subscribe

It’s part of a bigger push around the country. Trans children have been in the national spotlight in recent weeks, with the governor of Texas stepping in to try to stop a mother from allowing her child to transition. And on Wednesday, South Carolina legislators joined in with a bill that would ban a variety of medical treatments for trans children, potentially even antidepressants for gender dysphoria.

The bill, called the Youth Gender Reassignment Prevention Act, prohibits doctors from performing any “gender reassignment medical treatment” on a person under 18. Proposed by state Rep. Stewart Jones, a Republican, the bill isn’t just about surgery, which is uncommon for patients under 18 in any case. It would also ban hormones and puberty blockers, a reversible treatment that stops the physical changes associated with puberty. And it would prohibit doctors from performing “interventions to alleviate symptoms of clinically significant distress resulting from gender dysphoria,” or conflict between a person’s assigned gender and their gender identity.

The proposed legislation has an exception allowing mental health counseling. Still, it is so broad that it could ban medication for depression associated with gender dysphoria, Colleen Condon, board president of the South Carolina LGBTQ rights group Alliance for Full Acceptance, told Vox. Because “interventions” covered by the bill could include allowing a child to dress in accordance with their gender identity, she added, “It does seem to basically say you can’t be you.”
posted by Homo neanderthalensis (31 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
What the fucking shit? You can't legislate people out of existence.
posted by jaduncan at 8:13 AM on November 24, 2019 [11 favorites]

Many victims of many other genocides would disagree with you if they hadn't been murdered.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:19 AM on November 24, 2019 [17 favorites]

jaduncan: they can and they will. We have to stop them. Now.

(I mean I know *you* know that, but it feels necessary to spell that out)
posted by edd at 8:19 AM on November 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

Trans suicide rates are horrific already. Preventing psych intervention will directly result in people's deaths. Just like with the separation of immigrant children, that mental health danger is a feature, not a bug.
posted by jaduncan at 8:21 AM on November 24, 2019 [18 favorites]

Yeah, I do. We're fighting our own wars for trans rights in the UK, but it isn't like this.
posted by jaduncan at 8:22 AM on November 24, 2019 [5 favorites]

I (somehow) couldn't believe that "interventions to alleviate symptoms of clinically significant distress" could actually be prohibited in this thing - which is monstrous even without this stipulation - so I had to look up the actual text of the act and yep, it's in there. Even if you (wrongly, repugnantly) think you have any right whatsoever to interfere in another person's bodily autonomy, how the hell do you hate other human beings so much that you specifically write down that you want to bar them from relief from clinically significant distress?

This is so fucking cruel. Fuck everyone involved in this.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:30 AM on November 24, 2019 [32 favorites]

Would disagree with the idea that you can't legislate people out of existence.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:31 AM on November 24, 2019 [9 favorites]

Ok see that’s a take I agree with. The original comment was ambiguous however and came across as a “trans people don’t have it as bad as other groups” comment and I’m very glad that wasn’t it.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 8:34 AM on November 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

I can see how you would think that but oh jesus fuck no.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:36 AM on November 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

my trans ex and his trans brother who's only recently an adult live in SC and they've absolutely both been suicidal until they were allowed by *regular life circumstances* to begin any kind of transition, let alone this fucking thing, let alone that transition's already hard to access for poor rural southern kids.

if yall talk about this with people, emphasize this information, because people (have been purposefully led to) have a lot of misinformation about kids transitioning:
Around the country, the care doctors recommend for trans children varies by age, as Burns reports. Before puberty, they typically perform no medical interventions at all. Rather, most major medical associations recommend the “affirming method” for young children who may be trans, allowing them to experiment with different pronouns or gender presentations as they wish.

If a child is entering puberty and has been consistent in their gender identity for several years, a doctor may prescribe puberty blockers to halt the onset of puberty until the patient can make a decision about more permanent treatment. Later, if their gender identity remains consistent, they may start cross-sex hormones to bring on puberty consistent with their identity.

these are bare minimum, almost entirely reversible/nonpermanent things to protect kids from a traumatizing puberty. i have no idea how often kids are able to access blockers as an option now but boy i would've loved to have it available for me
posted by gaybobbie at 8:38 AM on November 24, 2019 [36 favorites]

I don't think the comparison to genocide is entirely right. But one thing that is right about it is that trans self-knowledge is passed down from person to person and generation to generation. (Like, having grown up with the knowledge that Wendy Carlos had transitioned, and kept being respected for her music afterwards, is one of the things that made it possible for me to even realize I was trans at all.)

So while it's a big, big mistake to imagine ourselves as being Just Like an ethnicity or a culture, there is a real sense in which this aims not just to harm or even kill people now, but also to cut off possibilities for future generations. Obviously, trans people will keep being born no matter what. But if these kids can transition and live happily, it will make more things better for the next trans generation. And if they can't, it won't.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:40 AM on November 24, 2019 [16 favorites]

We're raising our trans teen in Oklahoma with every privilege imaginable, and I'm terrified for her every single day. That elected officials see her transition, her wellness, as a crime? Beyond my comprehension. These are people that insist on a fetus being protected but not a living child. What the actual fuck is wrong with them? And what can I do to stop it from spreading?

I wish I could stop picturing a world where a "religious" woman is allowed to have an abortion because "God told me it thinks it's trans."
posted by smb0626 at 8:44 AM on November 24, 2019 [19 favorites]

Standing and fighting is good and brave.

If this was directly impacting me, I would leave. Get out of this place, these monsters are making their intentions clear.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:48 AM on November 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

It's tough, because kids can't choose where to have been born, or whether to be born to parents who've already been inspired to care about this issue in particular — and even very good parents get their ideas about parenting from their friends and neighbors.

If you've seen a few friends' kids transition happily, you'll be in the right place to do the right thing right away when your kid comes out. If the government where you live has made it harder for your friends' kids to transition, you're more likely to take longer to do right by your own kids. Maybe you do get the memo and move away eventually, or get the memo and get your kid care where you are despite the government. But that delay has its own cost.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:53 AM on November 24, 2019 [5 favorites]

In case it wasn't already clear that this bill is about cruelty, the SC bill doesn't have any language denying trans identity. In fact it embraces it, in the phrase, "gender identity experienced and defined by the patient." In other words, the experience of one's gender is not denied; it is allowed so that it can be medicalized, and once medicalized, can be controlled.

(I am still waiting for SC Equality to add this to their legislative tracker...I'm a little surprised it isn't already there.)

People whom I've never heard express transphobia before here in SC, are suddenly spouting TERF talking points about protecting women's shelters and jails, about how to "protect" children from gender-related care. People who have never in my acquaintance with them expressed the slightest interest in feminism, are now desperate to protect feminism from the encroachment of trans women.

It's so fucking sick and distressing.
posted by mittens at 9:04 AM on November 24, 2019 [31 favorites]

O Ok

No I meant that I get how you could have gotten that from my original comment but I agree with you. Me write good today.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:17 AM on November 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

In the fall of 2016, I said (in my very liberal state of MA) that if Trump is elected, this country would become unsafe for me and many, many others. I would leave.

I was laughed at. Repeatedly. I fought like hell to avoid the outcome we got. But the phonecalls began the morning after the election, and accelerated in early 2017, and I got out.

I was fortunate I could land in a master's degree program. I am fortunate that I have found consulting work and mostly stayed outside of the US, and I feel bad that I am one of the relatively-few who could do this.

Yes, fight if you must. But the same two-faced garbage of "Obamacare is evil because it gets between a doctor and their patients" while also saying "Doctors cannot proscribe HRT to people under the age of 18, even though that is right in line with WPATH standards of care" is not going to be limited to the trans folk. It never, ever is.

If this becomes the new standard in SC, Republicans will try to find a way to make this the national standard. And, overnight, there is no such thing as trans kids.

Well, there will still be trans kids. They will just be suffering needlessly. Because of course they will. =/
posted by andreaazure at 10:29 AM on November 24, 2019 [17 favorites]

I would love to stop this and every other genocidal crisis going on I just don't know what to do.
posted by bleep at 11:24 AM on November 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

This kind of institutional oppression feels like a boot on the neck. Best case scenario, the people who created it are ignorant and fear our difference. Worst case, they have full information about our lived realities and it makes them hate us even more.

This is going to kill people, and we won't be able to see it. People - kids - are going to end up dead because of this pointless cruelty. All because people are afraid of what we mean, about how our existence challenges their concepts of gender. I cant even consider the religious angle of hate because that's its own separate boot crushing us.

I want to grab these people, shake them by the shoulders, and scream. Why? What do they get out of this? Why do they want to punish us for breaking the rules of gender? For finding euphoria and freedom in feeling right in our own skins for the first time?

And I'm not even transitioning hormonally, I'm not directly in the line of fire, but I know a hell of a lot of people who are and who suffer through endless institutional bullshit because of it. Besides, I'm not stupid, I see the writing on the wall. They want to end gender nonconformity, and they see transitioning as the greatest expression of that. (Transitioning doesn't mean you're gender nonconforming notwithstanding, of course.)

So yeah. I'm with you, I see it, and I'll be with you when we get in the streets and demand our humanity back. Solidarity to all (other? Its complicated) trans MeFites. Stay safe, y'all.
posted by scruffy-looking nerfherder at 1:42 PM on November 24, 2019 [8 favorites]

When you starting thinking about an Underground Railroad for trans people, things are exactly as Bad As They Seem.
posted by klanawa at 1:46 PM on November 24, 2019 [6 favorites]

What I want is people in the streets making it impossible for the State to practice this violence upon us. But we’re not important enough to most people for that.
posted by odinsdream at 12:52 AM on November 25 [4 favorites +] [!]

Born Minnesotan here. Yes you are.

This kind of institutional oppression feels like a boot on the neck. Best case scenario, the people who created it are ignorant and fear our difference. Worst case, they have full information about our lived realities and it makes them hate us even more.

How Florida legally terrorized gay students (Vox) - A short video on the Johns Commission from the 1950's in Florida, which terrorized suspected homosexuals in the name of preventing communism or some odious bullshit.

They know. They all f**king know. The raging, virulent, and recent homophobia in Russia and Uganda and Brazil and Saudi Arabia? Trump banning trans people from serving in the US military? They know. Transphobia and homophobia are encroaching authoritarianism and genocide. There is no place for such moral depravity and perversion among a civilized people, and they must be exposed, resisted, and expunged before they can destroy our families and the American way of life.
posted by saysthis at 3:34 PM on November 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

Link to the bill text

I wonder if there's a way to take it to the courts, on the grounds that telling doctors not to treat clinically significant conditions is either practicing medicine without a license, interfering with medical treatment, or a form of cruel and unusual punishments. Or attempted murder, if it comes to that - passing a law that forbids doctors from saving lives must be something the courts can address?

Of course, sigh, I know what's been going on with the courts.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:41 PM on November 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I’ve got a lot of feelings but not a lot to say
posted by nikaspark at 4:59 PM on November 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

“interventions to alleviate symptoms of clinically significant distress resulting from gender dysphoria,”

Well.... That's straight up evil.

"Until this moment, Republicans, I think I have never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness... .Little did I dream you could be so reckless and so cruel as to do an injury to citizens. It is true they are transgender. It is equally true that they will always be transgender. It is, I regret to say, equally true that I fear they shall always bear a scar needlessly inflicted by you. If it were in my power to forgive you for your reckless cruelty I would do so. I like to think I am a gentle human being, but your forgiveness will have to come from someone other than me.

Republicans, may we not drop this? We know they belong to humanity.. Let us not assassinate them further, Republicans. You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?
posted by Jacen at 5:04 PM on November 24, 2019

So close to the Transgender Day of Remembrence too.
posted by Jacen at 5:06 PM on November 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

SC legislature isn't even in session until January. I truly believe that to these people, these are stunt bills, which I say not at all to downplay the harm this kind of legislation causes, or even harm done by the discussion and worry over the legislation, but that to them, these are low-effort, high-visibility moves that don't have to succeed to have their effect. I think it honestly doesn't matter to them whether this one gets lost in committee or passed or knocked out by the courts, because there's always another bill, so that they can say to voters, "Hey look, I hate the same people you hate, vote for me again." Just stabbing and stabbing at our most vulnerable people, forever immune to reason or humanity or morality. And then, when one does pass and hold up to the court challenges, they simply won't care about the body count, moving on to the next vulnerable population.

Someone asked what can be done. If you're interested in learning more about Stewart Jones, the NRA member and "certified bitcoin professional" who authored this bill, including his contact information, the SC state house provides this information.
posted by mittens at 5:49 PM on November 24, 2019 [5 favorites]

I won't visit SC.
I won't go to Chic-fil-a

What evil fucks
posted by Windopaene at 6:31 PM on November 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

They filed the fucking thing on the Transgender Day of Remembrance. That's how you know it's about the cruelty.
posted by Weeping_angel at 7:04 PM on November 24, 2019 [16 favorites]

Anything different must die. That comes around everywhere. Sigh.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:04 PM on November 24, 2019

It's maddening. They do things designed to terrorize us, then say we're wrong because we have a higher rate of mental illness. Gee, I fucking wonder why.
posted by No One Ever Does at 7:05 PM on November 24, 2019 [8 favorites]

One thing I'm wondering about is the "assigned gender identity." I suppose they're trying to make sure they don't accidentally ban surgery on intersex children to make them conform to an assigned gender. Who is authorized by the state of South Carolina to assign someone a gender?
posted by RobotHero at 10:30 AM on November 28, 2019

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