Hundreds of LGBT+ advocates convened in Washington DC in 2019 in the wake of the landmark Supreme Court hearings that could legalize workplace discrimination, primarily against LGBT people, on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender presentation. (Photo by Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Three North Carolina Republican lawmakers have introduced a bill that would force teachers to out any trans or gender non-conforming child to their parents.
Senate Bill 514 would make it illegal for any “government agents” to not “immediately” inform the parents or legal guardians of any child or young adult if that “minor under its care or supervision has exhibited symptoms of gender dysphoria, gender nonconformity, or otherwise demonstrates a desire to be treated in a manner incongruent with the minor’s sex”.
This would compel any state employee, teacher, volunteer or contractor of a school district in North Carolina to out trans students under the age of 21 to their parents.
The bill – introduced by Republican senators Ralph Hise, Warren Daniel and Norman Sanderson – will also prevent doctors and other healthcare professionals from giving gender affirming care to trans youth under the age of 21. This includes performing gender affirming surgeries and administering puberty blockers, testosterone or estrogen.
Under the bill, medical professionals who provide gender affirming treatment to trans patients could have their license revoked and face a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per occurrence.
Kendra R Johnson, executive director of Equality NC, said in a statement that it is “heartbreaking” – but “not unexpected” – to see these “direct, repeated attacks” against trans and gender non-conforming youth in North Carolina.
“These attempts to control the bodies and medical decisions of parents and their transgender children are invasive, inappropriate and outright dangerous,” Johnson said. “Decisions about a child’s medical welfare should be made between that child, their doctor, and their parents or guardians – not lawmakers.”
She added that it is the “job of all lawmakers” to thoroughly understand the “entirety of their constituency” and “mitigate challenges instead of creating barriers”. Johnson said: “We cannot legislate the transgender community out of existence.”
Chantal Stevens, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina, added SB 514 is the latest in a “series of coordinated attacks on healthcare access” for LGBT+ youth across the US. She explained the “true aim” of such legislation is to “push trans and non-binary people out of public life”.
“Not only are these bills rooted in falsehoods, hate and fear-mongering, but they also invade the private interactions between each of us and our medical providers,” Stevens said.
The North Carolina bill comes after Arkansas became the first state to ban gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth. The Arkansas bill was passed by the state’s House of Representatives and Senate in March before making its way to governor Asa Hutchinson for approval. However, Hutchinson vetoed the bill on Monday (5 April), saying it was a “vast government overreach”.
But on Tuesday (6 April), the Republican-controlled House and Senate voted to override Hutchinson’s veto, meaning the bill will be passed into law.