NC bill would ban treatment for trans people under 21

RALEIGH, N.C. — Three North Carolina Republican lawmakers introduced a bill Monday that would prevent doctors from performing gender reassignment surgery for transgender people younger than 21.

The legislation follows a nationwide trend of GOP-controlled state legislatures looking to limit treatments for transgender adolescents. Unlike other states, however, North Carolina would classify adults between the ages of 18 and 21 as minors under the “Youth Health Protection Act.”

Medical professionals who facilitate a transgender person’s desire to present themselves or appear in a way that is inconsistent with their biological sex could have their license revoked and face civil fines of up to $1,000 per occurrence. The measure bars doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery.

Senate Bill 514 would also compel state employees to immediately notify parents in writing if their child displays “gender nonconformity” or expresses a desire to be treated in a way that is incompatible with the gender they were assigned at birth. LGBTQ advocates fear the bill would out people under 21 who tell state workers that they may be transgender.

“Transgender youth have the best chance to thrive when they are supported and affirmed, not singled out and denied critical care that is backed by virtually every leading health authority,” said a statement from the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, adding that “a person’s gender identity shouldn’t limit their ability to access health care or be treated with dignity and respect.”

Allison Scott is also with Southern Equality. She is a trans woman and told Channel 9 she remembers growing up in North Carolina.

“I couldn’t go to teachers. I couldn’t go to counselors. I couldn’t talk about the bullying I was facing in school. I couldn’t talk about the bullying I was facing at home from my own parents bringing these things up,” Scott said.

Because of the obstacles she faced, Scott is fighting the bill.

“Where would be the safe space? Who could they possibly talk to if they are shut off at home? To shut off teachers and counselors -- that’s cruel,” Scott said.

There is a similar bill in South Carolina that would do the same things and in more than 20 states across the country.

“It seems to be a reign of hate all at once with trans exclusionary bills,” Scott said.

Scott is worried that if these bills are enacted it will force some teens into the same corner she was in growing up.

“To have to do that as a child and alone it’s beyond just mean, it’s cruel, it’s heartless and I can’t think of a worse thing to do to a child than to isolate them in such ways as these bills do,” she said.

Republican state Sen. Ralph Hise, who represents portions of western North Carolina and wrote the bill, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. GOP Sens. Warren Daniel and Norman Sanderson, who represent western and coastal areas of the state, respectively, also support the proposal.

In Arkansas on Monday, the state’s Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, vetoed a bill that would have made his state the first in the nation to ban gender confirming treatments or surgery for transgender youth under 18.

The proposal in North Carolina will almost certainly not become law, despite GOP majorities in both the state House and Senate. Senate leader Phil Berger was not immediately available for comment on whether he supports the measure and wants it to go to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

*The Associated Press contributed to this article