February 9, 2022

GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, is responding to two states’ bills banning transgender youth from lifesaving healthcare. The bill in Arizona failed to advance out of committee today. Hours later, a bill in Alabama passed a Senate committee and would make it a felony to treat transgender youth up to 19 years old. 

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, would make it a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for any person to prescribe medications like puberty blockers and hormones to those under the age of 19 and prevent surgery that alters a child's sex. Lawmakers in Alabama heard testimony today from doctors, who cited the risk of suicide among trans youth without gender affirming care, and from trans citizens, who described the many careful rounds of counseling as part of evidence-based treatment.

Quentin Bell, a transgender man and HIV advocate for The Knights and Orchids Society in Selma, Alabama, a Gilead COMPASS grantee, appealed to lawmakers: “If I have one request for you today is that you see transgender people, especially transgender youth, as members of your community, instead of making them targets.”

The bill passed by voice vote and moves next to the Alabama Senate.

GLAAD President and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis responded on Twitter, and here:

Bills like these are dangerous, intrusive, and risk the lives of vulnerable youth. Every major medical association supports gender-affirming care as safe and lifesaving. Research shows gender-affirming care dramatically improves mental health and outlook. In the words of a Republican governor who vetoed a similar bill last year, these bills represent ‘vast government overreach’ into the last place government should be - blocking a child from healthcare that could save their lives. Lawmakers must continue listening to the experts and to the science, which have long established best standards of care to support LGBTQ youth and give them every chance to grow and succeed as their authentic selves.

Arizona’s proposed healthcare ban failed to advance out of committee. Arizona has 16 other anti-LGBTQ bills pending discussion and votes, the most in the nation. 

GLAAD has a Guide for Media Covering anti-LGBTQ Legislation here. GLAAD’s checklist for accurate coverage includes recommendations to seek facts from experts in medicine and education over opinions from public figures; to include LGBTQ voices in all stories about LGBTQ issues; include LGBTQ parents and families in discussions about “parents’ rights;” and include context about bills’ impact on vulnerable youth.

Research to include in your coverage:

  • Every major medical association including the American Medical Association and American Academy of Pediatrics support access to school sports as important for children’s physical, social and emotional growth. 
  • 85% of transgender and nonbinary youth — and two-thirds of all LGBTQ youth (66%) — say debates in the states restricting rights of transgender people negatively impacted their mental health.
  • These bills are actively causing harm, including increased suicide, crisis contacts, and families in crisis forced to move from states targeting their children.
  • Anti-LGBTQ legal groups (classified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center) support these bills, often with identical language state to state. A designated hate group, ADF, has filed lawsuits using demonstrably false claims to attack transgender inclusion in sports.

2022 is already a record-setting year for state legislation targeting LGBTQ people, with more than 150 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed. This follows 2021’s record of proposed bills targeting transgender Americans’ access to education, athletics, healthcare, and bathrooms. 

  • Freedom for All Americans tracks anti-LGBTQ legislation across the U.S.
  • Polls show wide support for laws protecting LGBTQ people - 76%. Less than one in five Americans (19%) oppose nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans.