South Dakota House of Representatives Threatens Transgender Community Rights

trans youth North Dakota Belatina

South Dakota has become the first state to pass a House bill banning gender-based health care for transgender children.

HB 1057 passed the House last week after a “heated and often comically inaccurate debate,” Mother Jones reported. The bill was supported by 50 representatives and would make it “a Class 1 misdemeanor for doctors to provide minors under the age of 16 with hormone treatment or gender confirmation surgery.” Any violation of the law would result in a $2,000 fine and up to one year in jail.

One of the sponsors’ arguments was to “protect children from medical experimentation,” even comparing gender care treatment to experiments carried out by the Nazi regime.

The Human Rights Campaign responded to the House decision sponsored primarily by Representative Fred Deutsch, accusing him of advancing a campaign “of misinformation about what it means to be transgender” and imploring the Senate not to pass this harmful bill.

“A group of extreme lawmakers, led by Rep. Fred Deutsch, are targeting transgender youth, spreading misinformation and using vicious, harmful rhetoric while doing so,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Deustch and these anti-trans elected officials want to discriminate against transgender and gender non-conforming South Dakotans, full stop. If HB 1057 were to become law, it would send a strong message to trans youth that they are less than their peers and that lawmakers in the Capitol know better than doctors, parents and trans youth.” David added that South Dakota was the first state to prohibit trans youth from accessing facilities consistent with their gender identities, describing this latest decision as something that merely ensures that the state “remains at the forefront of discrimination against the LGBTQ community.” HB 1057 has not yet been passed by the Senate.

This has been widely corroborated by academic studies such as a Cornell University’s report that found that most of the academic literature “makes clear that gender transition is effective in treating gender dysphoria and can significantly improve the well-being of transgender individuals.”

“Among the positive outcomes of gender transition and related medical treatments for transgender individuals are improved quality of life, greater relationship satisfaction, higher self-esteem and confidence, and reductions in anxiety, depression, suicidality, and substance use,” the report finds.

The more than 50 studies reviewed by the university agreed that the positive effects of gender transition increase considerably in relation to surgical techniques and social support.

Similarly, regret after gender transition is extremely rare and has become rarer as techniques and support mechanisms have improved.

“Pooling data from numerous studies demonstrates a regret rate ranging from .3 percent to 3.8 percent,” the report explains. “Regrets are most likely to result from a lack of social support after transition or poor surgical outcomes using older techniques.”

However, it seems that in the United States, legislative decisions still have more to do with prejudice and ignorance of scientific developments than with a coherent argument.

According to ACLU figures, “at least 25 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced across the country this year,” but South Dakota’s decision is so far “one of the most hostile starts to a legislative session.”