The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Saturday, March 2, 2024 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

N.C. Republicans introduce bill to regulate gender-affirming procedures for minors

20230414_Tran-city-non-gender-affirming-hb-560-5.jpg

DTH Photo Illustration. Senate Bill 560, also known as the Medical Treatment for Minors Act, would restrict minors from receiving gender-affirming care if enacted.

Content Warning: This article contains mentions of suicide and self-harm.

*

*

*

North Carolina Senate Republicans introduced Senate Bill 560, the Medical Treatment for Minors Act, on April 4. The bill would require the regulation of gender-affirming surgical procedures for minors. 

S.B. 560 defines gender-affirming procedures as any medical or surgical service including but not limited to, "genital gender reassignment surgery and non-genital reassignment surgery, physician's services, inpatient and outpatient hospital services or prescribed drugs related to gender transition."

The regulations outlined in the bill include a new standardized consent form written by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and a requirement that minors seeking gender-affirming care see a pediatric psychiatrist at least once per month, starting six months before their procedure. 

It also includes prohibiting public funds to any "entity, organization or person that provides gender transition procedures to a minor" and establishing civil liability for the physician or health care provider if the minor is injured.

N.C. Sen. Jim Burgin (R-Harnett, Lee, Sampson) is one of the three primary sponsors of the legislation. The other two primary sponsors are N.C. Sen. Joyce Krawiec (R-Forsyth, Stokes) and N.C. Sen. Kevin Corbin (R-Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, Swain, Transylvania).

"I think it's going to increase the discussion about how we help children through health care discussion and to make sure we're not encouraging kids to make decisions they're not ready to make," Burgin said.

He said he chose to sponsor this bill because of his concern about children receiving treatment and surgeries before they are ready.

“I just think we need to slow this process down and give people, I think, time to have more conversations,” he said. 

Burgin said he is happy to talk to anyone concerned about this bill and does not condone any discrimination or harassment toward a person based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Brittany Bate is a licensed physician and the owner of Be Bold Psychology and Consulting, which offers affirming therapy and consulting for transgender, gender-diverse and queer clients.

Bate said she has concerns about patients waiting for care, and that — much like the risks in delaying recommended medication for medical conditions — there are risks in delaying gender-affirming hormone therapy as well. 

She said there will be a large increase in overall youth mental health problems, depression, anxiety and self-esteem issues if this bill passes.

“Gender-affirming care is absolutely suicide prevention for transgender youth,” she said.

Linden James, the director of outreach for iNSIDEoUT180 at the LGBTQ Center of Durham, said LGBTQ+ youth are at a greater risk for suicide and self-harm in general. 

According to a 2020 study, more than 80 percent of transgender individuals have considered suicide and 40 percent have attempted suicide.

Another study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that 50.8 percent of transgender male adolescents had attempted suicide at some point in their lives. Similarly, 29.9 percent of transgender female adolescents and 41.8 percent of adolescents who identified as neither male nor female reported a previous suicide attempt.

Burgin said he recently spoke with someone who is concerned about the potential increase in suicidal ideation in youth that S.B. 560 could create. In response, Burgin said he encourages people to seek counseling and use the suicide prevention line, 988, if they have thoughts of self-harm.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.

While counseling and therapy can be beneficial for people seeking treatment, James said therapy does not always work and is not always easily accessible. 

“Not everyone can afford having that treatment, that pediatric psychiatry, so it's definitely posing a barrier,” they said. “I think that it is encouraging for people to receive treatment other than just medical treatment, but that can't be the entire story."

As outreach director, James said they are also concerned about how the bill could affect young people in communities of color.

Bate said transgender youth of color, the uninsured and the underinsured are already disproportionately impacted in their ability to receive therapy services. 

“I think financially and just emotionally it's going to be pretty devastating,” James said.

Burgin said the bill could be on the floor of the N.C. Senate within the next few weeks.

Resources

On campus, students and University employees have access to the UNC LGBTQ Center. The Center offers identity-affirming and educational programing, as well as community activities. It is open Monday - Friday and can be contacted via phone at (919) 843-5376 or email lgbtq@unc.edu.

QTPOC is a program for students who identify as queer and/or transgender people of color. QTPOC offers mutual aid, peer support and social activities. Contact the program at  qtpocunc@gmail.com or via Facebook

The Trevor Project is a national program dedicated to the safety and mental health of LGBTQ young people. Crisis counselors are available 24/7 via phone at (866) 488 7386, as well as on text and chat

@audreykashatus7

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com 

Special Print Edition
The Daily Tar Heel's 2024 Music Edition

More in City & State



More in City & County

More in The OC Report