The ACLU of Wyoming opposes Senate File 111, legislation that would consider medically necessary gender-affirming health care a form of child abuse, a felony punishable up to 10 years in prison. Senate File 111 is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Labor, Health and Social Services committee Friday morning.

By labeling medical care supported by every major medical association – including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association – as child abuse, Wyoming legislators are is compromising the health of trans youth in dangerous and potentially life-threatening ways.

“Anytime a policymaker spreads lies and misinformation about trans people and their medical care, it’s dangerous. Rather than making medical care more affordable and accessible to people who need it, Wyoming legislators are trying to add another barrier, one that will be hardest on some of the most vulnerable people in our state,” said Antonio Serrano, ACLU of Wyoming advocacy director. “Trans people should not be ashamed or fearful to live in Wyoming. The result of legislation like this won’t be that fewer kids grow up to be trans, it will be that fewer kids grow up.”

The link between gender-affirming care and improved mental well-being among teens is well documented. A peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that gender-affirming care is associated with significantly reduced rates of depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts among transgender and nonbinary youth.

Doctors and medical organizations have been providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth for decades. However, it has increasingly become a target of attacks from state lawmakers across the country. Federal courts have blocked the enforcement of legislative bans on gender-affirming care for transgender youth in Arkansas and Alabama and no court in the country has ever classified gender-affirming care as child abuse.

The American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, and the ACLU of Texas filed a lawsuit in Texas state court in June on behalf of PFLAG National and three Texas families. There are currently court orders in place blocking Texas Department of Family and Protective Services investigations into PFLAG and its members across Texas.

A similar bill, Senate File 144, has been referred to the Senate Labor committee, but a hearing has not been scheduled yet.

About the ACLU of Wyoming

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of Wyoming is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and South Dakota. The team in Wyoming is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ communities. The ACLU of Wyoming carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of Wyoming.