A Georgia Republican wants to make it a felony for doctors in the state to assist minors who are undergoing gender transitions, sharpening a growing debate over gender procedures for young adults.
As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, state lawmaker Ginny Ehrhart has proposed legislation that would make it illegal for medical professionals to perform a number of different procedures that would help minors transition from one gender to another. This includes both surgical procedures and the use of drugs that would delay puberty or block it entirely, Ehrhart wrote in the legislative proposal.
Ehrhart said in a press release that these were considered “dangerous medical interventions” and that parents should not subject their children to such procedures. She noted that children would be too young to undergo such invasive procedures.
“The removal of otherwise healthy or non-diseased body parts from minor children would also be prohibited,” the release read, via The Hill. “We’re talking about children that can’t get a tattoo or smoke a cigar or a cigarette in the state of Georgia, but can be castrated and get sterilized.”
Ehrhart said she was inspired to propose the legislation from a case in Texas where parents are in a legal dispute over their 7-year-old child’s wish to undergo gender reassignment. A Dallas judge ruled last week that the divorced parents will have joint custody over the 7-year-old child, who was born male but identifies as female. The child’s father claims that the mother has manipulated the child into believing they are transgender.
As Rolling Stone noted, the unusual case has struck a nerve in right-wing circles amid a debate over the rights of minors who identify as transgender. Transgender rights activists say that the outrage is misguided and many of the key issues are being misconstrued.
Gillian Branstetter, a spokesperson for the National Center for Transgender Equality, told the magazine that the right-wing media has latched onto the case and promoted misconceptions surrounding transgender youth.
“The only reason this case is so high profile is thanks to an entire universe of websites and bloggers spreading disinformation about who trans people are, and what it means to affirm and love a trans child, and what trans healthcare entails,” she said.
Branstetter added that it was “deeply unfortunate” to see the issue surface in mainstream politics in such a way.
It was not clear if Ginny Ehrhart’s proposed legislation is expected to pass in the Georgia General Assembly.