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Janna Farley,

February 20, 2024

The ACLU of Wyoming opposes Senate File 99, legislation that would prohibit doctors from providing life-saving gender-affirming care to transgender youth in Wyoming.

Like all health care, health care for transgender youth is individualized and based on the needs of each particular person. Senate File 99, which will be heard in the Senate Labor, Health & Social Services Committee at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, would take away private health care choices around the provision of medical care consistent with prevailing medical and scientific standards. Such choices should be made between a doctor and a patient, not politicians.

“Across the country and right here in Wyoming, lawmakers are sticking their noses into matters they shouldn’t – specifically heath care decisions that have been traditionally reserved for parents," said Antonio Serrano, ACLU of Wyoming advocacy director. “Anytime policymakers spread lies and misinformation about trans people and their medical care, it’s dangerous. We don’t need a law that substitutes the state’s judgment for that of loving parents who are following the guidance of their children and the advice of doctors.”

Doctors and medical organizations have been providing gender-affirming care to transgender youth for decades. 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.

“Rather than making medical care more affordable and accessible to people who need it, these legislators are trying to add another barrier, one that will be hardest on some of the most vulnerable people in our state,” Serrano said. “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.”

Singling out gender-affirming care for categorical prohibition violates the constitutional guarantees  of equal protection and due process. Last summer, a federal judge in the 8th Circuit Court permanently blocked an Arkansas law that aimed to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth. The judge said the law, which is similar to what is being proposed in Wyoming, violates the constitutional rights of transgender youth, their parents, and their medical providers. In January, a federal judge in the 9th Circuit blocked at Idaho law that would ban gender-affirming care for trans youth.

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.