A Republican lawmaker in Utah is attempting to effectively ban trans people under 18 from medically transitioning. One of his most vocal opponents? His sister.
State Representative Brad Daw is at the helm of a bill that would ban cross-sex hormones, gender reassignment operations, and other medical interventions for trans youth in Utah.
Daw’s sister, Christy Florence, is the wife of a trans man and the mother of a trans daughter. She wrote an open letter to her brother, pleading with him not to move forward with the bill.
“Brad, I implore you to leave the decisions of medical care to the parents and medical professionals,” Florence wrote in The Salt Lake Tribune. “Trust the experts. They know what they are doing. These families know their children and what is the very best for them.”
Florence is the founder of Mama Dragons, an advocacy group that offers support for mothers with LGBTQ children. As part of her advocacy work, Florence has “sat with families of transgender youth and heard their stories” and now has “a deep understanding of what is required to physically, medically and emotionally transition.”
“This legislation is unnecessary and punitive. It will cause harm to an already vulnerable and struggling population,” she wrote.
Gender-affirming healthcare has the potential to be life-saving for trans youth. Hormone blockers, for example, were associated with lower risks of suicide and mental health issues in a recent study.
Daw’s bill is being framed as a compromise because it would permit the use of hormone blockers. However, it would still ban cross-sex hormones and other forms of gender-affirming healthcare.
“Puberty blockers are an important component of care for transgender youth; however, they are insufficient on their own,” explains Dr. Jack Turban, a resident psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the hormone blockers study. “At the end of the day, legislators should not pick away individual steps of established medical protocols they do not fully understand.”
Utah lawmakers haven’t officially proposed the bill yet. Similar anti-trans healthcare bills have been introduced in several other states this month.