An Alabama lawmaker wants to make it a crime for doctors to prescribe opposite-sex hormones or medications that block the onset of puberty to people younger than 19 who identify as transgender.
Rep. Wes Allen, R-Troy, introduced his bill today.
“I was shocked when I found out doctors in Alabama were prescribing these types of drugs to children,” Allen said in a news release. “This is something you hear about happening in California or New York but it is happening right here in Alabama and it’s time we put a stop to that practice.”
Allen’s bill would make it a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a doctor to prescribe puberty-blockers or hormones to minors. The bill would also outlaw surgical procedures on minors that change their anatomy to match their gender identity.
Allen said in the news release that gender dysphoria is a psychological disorder and should be treated as such without medical procedures that have permanent effects.
“These children are suffering from a psychological disorder, just as someone who is suffering with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia but we treat those patients and try to help them,” Allen said. “We should treat these psychological disorders as well.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement in 2018 with a different view: “Ensuring Comprehensive Care and Support for Transgender and Gender-Diverse Children and Adults.”
It said transgender identities and diverse gender expression are not mental disorders.
“Variations in gender identity and expression are normal aspects of human diversity, and binary definitions of gender do not always reflect emerging gender identities,” the statement said.
It said medications to suppress puberty and cross-sex hormones can be appropriate components of a broad-based “gender-affirmative care model.”
The academy said mental health issues for children with transgender identities were most often the result of stigma and negative experiences they encounter.
Allen’s bill was assigned to the House Health Committee.
Allen’s bill is at least the second introduced this session dealing with transgender youth. A bill by Rep. Chris Pringle, R-Mobile, would prohibit participation by transgender athletes on high school teams that conflict with the gender on their birth certificate. The House State Government Committee on Wednesday approved the “Gender is Real Legislative Act.”
Opponents of the bill, including the Human Rights Campaign, say it’s discriminatory and assumes a problem that does not exist. Pringle said he wants to make sure girls don’t have to compete against transgender athletes with an unfair advantage.