Topeka, Kan. -
Four Republican House members in Kansas introduced a bill Wednesday that would outlaw doctors from providing gender-affirming healthcare treatments for transgender youth. It would make it a felony to prescribe hormone therapies and puberty blockers, and other procedures.
Criminal punishment could include eight months imprisonment and the loss of medical licenses.
The bill was quickly condemned by a transgender House member, Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Byers.
She argued that person and their parents should have the right to seek these treatments affirming gender identity.
Republican state Rep. Randy Garber said that bill was necessary to protect children who are not old enough to make a thoughtful decision about gender identity.
Byers argued that transgender people know who they are, “I've known who I am since…before kindergarten.”
Garber responded to that argument, shared by other transgender advocates.
“They probably know they want to get drunk, too, but we don't let them drink alcohol, do we?”
Republican state Rep. Brenda Landwehr, chairwoman of the House health committee, attempted to pour cold water over the bill for the moment. She said that the committee has other things to worry about, including pandemic-related issues and improving mental health services provided by the state.
There are 30 Republican-led legislatures—many of which are considering similar bills in their own states. This is in response to President Joe Biden's executive order prohibiting transgender discrimination. There are 18 Democratic-led legislatures that could also find themselves pondering similar bills proposed by their minorities.
Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas said that conservatives realize they've lost the marriage equality fight and have found a new group to oppress.
“Instead of going after grownups,” Witt said in a statement, “almost every single one of these bills across the country has been targeted at little kids.”