A Georgia lawmaker wants to make treatments for transgender kids a felony, but doctors say that could put lives at risk

Business Insider
by Jennifer Gerson
January 02, 2020

A Georgia politician wants to make it a crime for children to receive any transgender-related healthcare, which would include puberty blockers — a treatment that’s reversible and has been shown to improve mental health. 

When the new legislative session starts in January, Ginny Ehrhart, a Republican member of the George House of Representatives, will likely pick up where she left off — advocating for the Vulnerable Child Protection Act. If it passes, the bill would make it a felony for medical professionals to administer trans-related drugs or procedures.

“This form of child abuse is becoming a serious problem,” Ehrhart said in a press release in October. “We are talking about children who have not reached the legal age of consent, yet are being subjected to life-altering, irreversible surgeries and drug treatments that render them sterile and permanently disfigured.”

Medical experts who have written guidance on transgender healthcare for families, pediatricians, and mental health professionals say that Ehrhart and other legislators who’ve proposed similar bills are spreading myths about the side effects of puberty blockers and the accepted general course of treatment for transgender children. The bill could put an already vulnerable population at an even greater risk for suicide, and other mental health issues.

Interventions may become more significant in light of new research, which found that transgender children may be able to develop their gender identity at an early age much in the same way as children who identify with the sex they were assigned at birth do, according to a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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