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Trans kids in Georgia say they have target on their back with GOP initiative

Maya T. Prabhu and Ariel Hart, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in News & Features

ATLANTA — Michael’s mother walked past the bathroom in their Duluth, Georgia, home where she had seen her son crying months earlier. The teen was now looking in the same mirror, but this time he was grinning.

“I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ ” she recalled of that moment about a year ago.

“And he goes, ‘I finally feel like Michael. I feel like me.’”

Michael, now 17, is transgender, and he had recently begun taking testosterone to help him undergo the puberty for a teen boy. In the mirror that day, Michael was seeing a difference for the first time, a boy who looked like a boy.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is not identifying the families of transgender children, who said they are concerned for their safety.

Republican lawmakers in Georgia are trying to change the law to stop transgender minors like Michael from receiving hormone replacement therapy or having surgery to help them physically align with their gender identity.


From birth, Michael was raised as a girl. But Michael said he knew for years that he was a boy. The pain of living his life in a body that didn’t match his gender identity led him to self-harm and suicidal thoughts. He credits hormone treatment, in his case testosterone, with giving him a path to bringing his body and his identity into alignment.

Leading culture wars

Now, cases like Michael’s have exploded into the political consciousness as some conservatives voice concern that such treatments are hasty. Legislatures in red states across the nation are proposing bills to intervene. In Georgia, versions of the bill have passed both chambers. It would apply to anyone under 18 years of age.

The House on Thursday passed Senate Bill 140 largely on a party-line vote, with Republicans supporting the measure. Such party-line votes on the issue are the norm in the Republican-majority General Assembly. Since the bill was amended in the House, it will now go back to the Senate for its consideration.


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