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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

It’s not the first time transgender children felt like they were political targets in Georgia.

Last year, lawmakers passed a bill that allows any athletic association to ban transgender girls from competing on girls teams. A month later, the Georgia High School Association voted to require athletes to compete based on their biological sex.

This year’s bill would ban health care professionals from giving hormones such as estrogen or testosterone to transgender minors. Doctors also would not be allowed to perform surgeries on children seeking to align with their gender identity.

Treatment for transgender adolescents is a two-step process, first pausing hormones and puberty, and then giving new hormones to advance puberty in the target sex. If the bill becomes law, the second step would be banned for those under 18.

Medical professionals would still be allowed to prescribe a hormone treatment that aims to delay puberty or stop it from progressing under the proposal. Children who don’t identify with their biological sex at a young age are often prescribed the puberty blockers.

Scientists who deal with such patients say a new, yearslong delay between pausing puberty and beginning hormone replacement therapy could lead to both physical and psychological issues.


The bill would also allow for minors to continue to receive hormone treatments if they began before July 1, when the bill, if signed into law, would take effect, so minors in Michael’s situation wouldn’t be affected.

‘A pause’

SB 140′s sponsor, state Sen. Carden Summers, a Cordele Republican, says the legislation aims to stop parents from allowing their children to make permanent decisions about their gender identity before they are legal adults.

“It’s also been proven that children who have gender dysphoria issues sort of outgrow them as they mature. ... They should get a little bit more mature before they make a decision that is 100% irreversible,” he told the House Public Health Committee on Tuesday. “After (transgender children turn) 18 years old, whatever they decide to do is their business. This bill is simply to pause.”


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