Trans state legislators slam White House opposition to gender-affirming surgery for minors

Courts Title IX 043024 AP Patrick Orsagos

A group of transgender and nonbinary state legislators sent a letter to the Biden administration criticizing its decision to oppose gender-affirming surgery for minors.

In the letter, the lawmakers said transgender youth in America have been under relentless legislative assault by right-wing politicians over the last several years. The biggest thing Republicans have done is placing bans on “evidence-based, mentally necessary healthcare” for transgender kids, they argued.

“One bulwark against this wave of demonization and denial of care has been the clear, consisted messaging of President Joe Biden,” the group wrote.

Their response comes after the White House said earlier this week that the administration supports gender-affirming care for minors, but believes gender-affirming surgical care should be reserved for adults.

The statement drew criticism from LGTBQ organizations and those who say the administration has supported transgender youth in the past but is now abandoning them.

“By stating that some forms of healthcare for transgender people should be limited solely to adults, the administration is surrendering the health care of young transgender people as something to be negotiated in the political domain, rather than something that needs to be carefully considered and decided by the medical community, by the parents of the transgender youth, and by the youth themselves,” the letter said.

The letter was signed by Montana state Reps. Zooey Zephyr and SJ Howell, state Rep. Gerri Cannon, Minnesota state Reps. Brion Curran and Leigh Finke and Michigan state Rep. Emily Dievendorf.

The group of lawmakers said they have fought for transgender rights across the country and know how getting care for a transition can make or break having a happy life.

“We fought these fights with the belief that the Biden administration was going to stand with us in solidarity,” the group wrote, adding “we are heartbroken to say that this new statement from the administration is … a betrayal.”

The lawmakers said they hoped Tuesday’s rebuke from the administration was miscommunication or an error. They added that they would be looking for a sign from President Biden that they will oppose attacks on care for minors such as puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy and surgery.

“Mr. President, our transgender youth need you to have their backs, now more than ever,” they wrote. “You gave us your word, and this is the moment for the administration to make clear its commitment to the wellbeing of transgender youth. We are counting on you.”

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