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Controversial N.C. bill would ban gender surgery for trans people under 21
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Controversial N.C. bill would ban gender surgery for trans people under 21

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RALEIGH — Three Republican lawmakers introduced a bill Monday that would prevent doctors from performing gender reassignment surgery for transgender people younger than 21.

The legislation follows a nationwide trend of GOP-controlled state legislatures looking to limit treatments for transgender adolescents. Unlike other states, however, North Carolina would classify adults between the ages of 18 and 21 as minors under the “Youth Health Protection Act.”

Medical professionals who facilitate a transgender person’s desire to present themselves or appear in a way that is inconsistent with their biological sex could have their license revoked and face civil fines of up to $1,000 per occurrence. The measure bars doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery.

The Pentagon on Wednesday swept away Trump-era policies that largely banned transgender people from serving in the military, issuing new rules that offer them wider access to medical care and assistance with gender transition.

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Senate Bill 514 would also compel state employees to immediately notify parents in writing if their child displays “gender nonconformity” or expresses a desire to be treated in a way that is incompatible with the gender they were assigned at birth.

LGBTQ advocates fear the bill would out people under 21 who tell state workers that they may be transgender.

“Transgender youth have the best chance to thrive when they are supported and affirmed, not singled out and denied critical care that is backed by virtually every leading health authority,” said a statement from the Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality. She added that “a person’s gender identity shouldn’t limit their ability to access health care or be treated with dignity and respect.”

Republican state Sen. Ralph Hise, who represents portions of western North Carolina and wrote the bill, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The proposal in North Carolina will almost certainly not become law, despite GOP majorities in both the state House and Senate. Senate leader Phil Berger of Eden was not immediately available for comment on whether he supports the measure and wants it to go to Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.

Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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