Tuesday, May 21, 2024

SC Gov signs harsh anti-trans bill into law: Bans gender-affirming care for minors, bans public funds & Medicaid from being used for all gender-affirming care, encourages outing of trans students

From The Associated Press:

 South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster on Tuesday signed into law a ban on gender-affirming care for transgender minors. When the ink dried, South Carolina became the 25th state to restrict or ban such care for minors. The governor announced the signing on social media and said he would hold a ceremonial bill signing next week. The law bars health professionals from performing gender-transition surgeries, prescribing puberty blockers and overseeing hormone treatments for patients under 18.

 . . .As the bill advanced in the General Assembly, doctors and parents testified before House and Senate committees that people younger than 18 do not receive gender-transition surgeries in South Carolina and that hormone treatments begin only after extensive consultation with health professionals. They said the treatments can be lifesaving, allowing young transgender people to live more fulfilling lives. Research has shown that transgender youth and adults are prone to stress, depression and suicidal behavior when forced to live as the sex they were assigned at birth. 

 Supporters of the bill have cited their own unpublished evidence that puberty blockers increase self-harm and can be irreversible. 

 To be more specific To be more specific, over 40 physicians, parents and kids testified against this bill. Only one person testified for it - a representative from the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is a group which pushed anti-LGBTQ group across the country. And what's worse, he didn't even bother to show up in person. He testified via video.

If anything, this nonsense proves yet again how Republicans and conservatives weaponize the claim of protecting children to in actuality havoc to the LGBTQ community. According to the Campaign for Southern Equality, the new law also:

Prohibits public funds and Medicaid from being used to cover the cost of transition-related healthcare for transgender people of any age – which could result in providers of gender-affirming care who receive public funds to restrict care, and would impact transgender people insured through the state employee healthcare plan. 

 Encourages school professionals to “out” students to their parents if they ask to go by a different name or pronouns, potentially before they are ready to share.

And according to LGBTQ Nation, the law runs counter to what majority of South Carolinians said about the issue in March poll:

A March 2024 poll found that 71% of South Carolina voters felt that the government should not intervene in LGBTQ gender-affirming healthcare decisions that regard individuals under the age of 18.

The Campaign for Southern Equality has information available for those impacted by this law:

With H.4624 immediately in effect, advocates have launched resources to support families navigating this challenging period. Families of transgender youth in South Carolina are now eligible to apply for support from the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project (STYEP), a regional project of the Campaign for Southern Equality, led in partnership in SC with We Are Family, Uplift Outreach Center, and the Harriet Hancock Center. 

The project helps transgender youth whose access to gender-affirming care has been disrupted by government policies. Through STYEP, families can receive accurate information about H.4624; patient navigation to identify out-of-state gender-affirming care providers; and emergency grants of $500 for immediate needs, including travel, medication, and other logistics. Families can request support at www.southernequality.org/SCResources

 Transgender adults who may be impacted by H.4624 should contact the Campaign for Southern Equality’s informational hotline, which is available at https://southernequality.org/SCHealthcareHelp/