Georgia Senate panel passes bill limiting treatment for transgender kids

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

Credit: Natrice Miller/AJC

A state Senate panel on Wednesday passed a bill that would prohibit medical professionals from giving transgender children certain hormones or surgical treatment that assists them in aligning with their gender identity.

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee passed Senate Bill 140 on a 10-4 party-line vote, with Republicans supporting the measure.

The vote came hours after U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene stopped by the Senate and urged its members to “protect our kids here in Georgia.”

“There is a great delusion that has been sent on our country and it is attacking our children, and that is the lie that children can change their gender,” Greene told senators. “There are children that are not even old enough to vote ... or old enough to join the military or old enough to get a tattoo or old enough to buy nicotine or alcohol that are taking dangerous medications (such as) puberty blockers. They are undergoing dangerous surgeries and permanent life-altering surgeries, such as mastectomy for teenage girls and castration for teenage boys.”

Greene was one of three U.S. representatives to address the Georgia Senate on Wednesday while Congress was in recess.

SB 140 would not ban medication that slows or stops puberty, but it would ban health care professionals from giving transgender minors hormones such as estrogen or testosterone. Doctors also would not be allowed to perform surgeries on children.

Children who don’t identify with their biological sex at a very young age may be prescribed hormone treatments that aim to delay puberty or stop it from progressing.

“This is a bill simply designed to say, ‘Let’s wait and see,’ ” said state Sen. Carden Summers, the Cordele Republican who sponsored the legislation. “Get them to 18 years old and do what you want to. Until we get to that point in time, no sex changes in children will take place.”

Transgender advocates say it is rare for doctors to perform nonreversible procedures on minors.

Karl Nicholas, who said he drove about three hours from North Carolina to share testimony about his transgender grandson who lives in DeKalb County, said he was grateful his grandchild was born at a time when medicine could help him.

“Many of the folks that are critical of Sam’s decision are probably enjoying the results of other treatments made possible in this century, like breast enlargement or pills to shore up a failing sex life — things they might be too shy to discuss but which they find less objectionable than sex change,” he said. “To those folks I say, ‘The things that trans people or all LGBTQ folks use to cope with the life they have are none of your business. Butt out.”

The bill includes an exception for the treatment of intersex children — those who are not born with the genitalia, chromosomes or reproductive organs of only one gender. There are also allowances for physicians to treat children for nongender-related reasons, such as a sexual development disorder or an injury or infection.

It 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.



The committee also discussed Senate Bill 141, a similar bill that would restrict all medicinal and surgical treatment of minors if it is to assist them in aligning with their gender identity, but did not vote on it.

Jen Slipakoff, a Cobb County resident, said she was concerned that her teenage transgender daughter would be bullied by her classmates when she came out as trans.

“I’m happy to report, she has never been bullied by her classmates,” Slipakoff said. “That’s not to say she doesn’t have bullies. Here in this room right now. They sponsored this bill and they’re the ones that are going to vote for it. ... She doesn’t want and she doesn’t need your protection. She wants you to leave her alone.”

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