Kansas House GOP Proposed Bill Would Criminalize Care for Transgender Youth

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday February 5, 2021

Kansas Republicans want to criminalize gender affirmation surgery and other treatments for transgender youth who seek to transition, ABC News reports.

On Wednesday, four GOP members of the Kansas House presented the bill which would make it a felony for doctors to provide such treatments. Unsurprisingly, the bill — along with, as ABC states, "more than a dozen state legislatures targeting transgender youth in sports or medical treatments for them" — was presented in response to an Executive Order signed by President Biden prohibiting discrimination against transgender youth in school sports. President Biden's executive order reads, in part:

"It is the policy of my Administration to prevent and combat discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation, and to fully enforce Title VII and other laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation."

Tom Witt, director of Equality Kansas, said, "Ever since [same-sex] marriage was declared constitutional, they've changed their targets. Instead of going after grownups, almost every single one of these bills across the country has been targeted at little kids."

Democratic Rep. Stephanie Byers of Wichita — a transgender woman elected last year — said of the GOP's proposed bill, "It turns off the medical interventions that a parent can seek for their child. I've known who I am since I was — before kindergarten."

In addition to prohibiting surgery on transgender children, it would also criminalize the prescription of puberty blockers that are often used to assist youth who wish to transition. The proposed bill would imprison doctors for up to eight months for "unlawful gender reassignment service" and revoke their medical licenses.

The House health committee chair and Wichita Republican, Brenda Landwehr, said the bill would likely not receive a hearing because the committee has other priorities.

State Rep. Randy Garber, one of the GOP sponsors of the bill, said that minors are "too young to be making those decisions" about gender identity. "They probably know they want to get drunk, too, but we don't let them drink alcohol, do we? Or smoke, or whatever," Gerber told Associated Press.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.