Wyoming Is the Latest State to Ban Gender-Affirming Care for People Under 18

Wyoming just enacted a ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth, making it the 23rd state to sign some form of restriction on that care into law, per the Movement Advancement Project.

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon, who is a Republican, signed Senate File 99 into law on Friday. Under the legislation, medical professionals who provide minors with gender-affirming care could be penalized by having their licenses revoked or by being banned from practicing in the state of Wyoming altogether. However, the law maintains an exception for intersex youth and for youth with “medically verifiable central precocious puberty.” The law will go into effect on July 1, absent any legal intervention.

In a press release accompanying the signing of the bill, Gordon said that he signed the bill because he supports “the protections this bill includes for children.”

“However it is my belief that the government is straying into the personal affairs of families,” he said. “Our legislature needs to sort out its intentions with regard to parental rights. While it inserts governmental prerogative in some places, it affirms parental rights in others.”

Gordon pointed to the state’s recently passed “parental rights in education” legislation, which passed into law without his signature on March 5, per Northern Wyoming News. That law requires teachers to obtain written or electronic parental permission at least one day before a student participates in curricula relating to sexual orientation or gender identity. It also requires school faculty to notify a student’s parent or guardian “as soon as practicable if there is a change in the student’s educational, physical, mental or emotional health or well-being.” Schools must also notify parents of the healthcare services available at schools, and parents are given the option to withhold consent or decline any routine specific healthcare services.

Advocates vehemently spoke out against the bill before it passed. Sara Burlingame, executive director of the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Wyoming Equality, said in a February testimonial against the legislation, “Ideally, we would not entertain bills like this and we would have the conversation that many people have proposed, where the cruelty was not the point, the healthcare was.”

“In a conversation like that we could deal with nuance and sensitivity, with students who may or may not grow out of their dysmorphia,” she said. “We have no problems with saying that there are a number of students who are adolescents and the nature of adolescence is to experiment, to try things on, and to maybe not be stuck in amber for the rest of their lives. Perhaps it was a phase. But perhaps it’s not. And if it’s not, then they and their parents deserve equal access to healthcare.”