HB 1214 is a transphobic bill introduced in the Washington State Legislature in 2023, falsely claiming to be “protecting children’s bodies”. In reality, it aims to deny gender-affirming healthcare for youth with gender dysphoria, stripping away the rights of parents to support their transgender children’s physical and mental health.
As of January 2023, the bill is open for comment. You can voice your opposition to the bill at https://app.leg.wa.gov/pbc/bill/1214.
Sample Comment 1
The dishonest intent behind this bill is apparent from its misleading name, the “protecting children’s bodies act”. How can this bill protect children when it criminalizes the healthcare that parents of transgender children credit with improving their children’s health and saving their children’s lives? If this bill passes, parents will have to watch their children suffer from gender dysphoria, which is too often accompanied by suicidal ideation, without the tools to alleviate their children’s suffering.
Many families would have faced unspeakable tragedy if their children had been denied access to gender-affirming care:
Gender-Affirming Care Saved my Teen’s Life (Elaine Dobre. Motherly, 2022 Mar 4)
Gender-affirming care saved my child’s life (Lori Jones. The Focus Trust)
Gender-affirming care for trans youth improves mental health: Study (WPHM, 2023 Jan 19)
HB 1412 tramples on the rights of parents and families. Vote no.
Sample Comment 2
This bill is worded as though it will somehow protect children; it will not. It will do the opposite. This piece of legislation, if enacted, will exacerbate the ongoing suffering of transgender and nonbinary youth due to the inhuman ways we treat non-cisgender people in our society. There is nothing wrong or broken about a person because they are transgender or nonbinary, and anything that suggests otherwise, including this legislation, is morally reprehensible. We need to do better.
This is not an opinion; this is a fact that has been demonstrated numerous times, both in the peer-reviewed literature and in social surveys and other publications by organizations like the Trevor Project. In one peer-reviewed study (Price-Feeney et al. 2020), it was found that transgender and nonbinary youth are 2 to 2.5 times more likely to experience depressive symptoms and attempt suicide than their cisgender LGBQ peers. It’s worth noting here that LGBTQ youth, including cisgender LGBTQ youth, are already more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender, heterosexual peers (Johns et al. 2019, Johns et al. 2020). These findings have been replicated time after time.
We know why these statistics exist. Our society tells LGBTQ people from birth that we are broken and that there is something wrong with us, and as non-heterosexuality has come to be more accepted in society, that messaging has become more and more focused against transgender and nonbinary people, including children. It should come as no surprise when a child who hears day in and day out that there is something fundamentally wrong with who they are, ends up depressed and at high risk for suicide. I have personally experienced this throughout my life, existing as a queer person living in America.
Our society doesn’t do a very good job at providing social support and affirmation for transgender and nonbinary people either, including children (Ryan et al. 2009, Katz-Wise et al. 2015), despite clear evidence that social support and affirmation, including gender-affirming social support and healthcare, are some of the most crucial protective factors for transgender and nonbinary youth (Price-Feeney et al. 2019, Green et al. 2021, Toomey et al. 2011, Eccles et al. 2003, Dessel et al. 2017, I could go on – the evidence supporting this is overwhelming.)
In particular, Dr. Amy Green (Green et al. 2021) found very clearly that “gender-affirming hormone therapy is significantly related to lower rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts among transgender and nonbinary youth.”
If your goal is to protect children, ALL children, it is clear from the data that to protect transgender and nonbinary children, we need to increase their access to social support, safe and affirming spaces, and gender-affirming healthcare, and that to do the opposite, as this bill seeks to do, will DIRECTLY HURT THESE CHILDREN.
This bill will result in an exacerbation of these tragic things that are already happening. More transgender and nonbinary youth will attempt and complete suicide. More will experience depression and other mental health impacts. This suffering is completely unnecessary. Please have compassion and empathy for these children and vote no on this reprehensible bill.
Dr Wayne Maines, a Republican and an Air Force veteran, spent years struggling with the gender expression of his transgender daughter Nicole, who had known that she was a girl since preschool age. Dr Maines eventually came to fully support gender-affirming care for his teenage daughter, putting the well-being and happiness of his child ahead of society’s prejudices.
Anger & fear: New poll shows school-level impact of anti-LGBTQ political debate (LA School Report, 2023, January 23)
A new poll released today by The Trevor Project finds that recent debate over state laws restricting the rights of LGBTQ young people is having a huge negative impact on their mental health, their ability to seek health care and their exposure to in-school discrimination… At the time the findings were released, three weeks into 2023, more than 150 anti-LGBTQ bills — most of them targeting transgender and nonbinary children and youth — had been filed in state legislatures. As in the last few years, youth reports of bullying and harassment remain very high….
Multiple states have proposed bills that would ban gender-affirming care for adults (Xtra Magazine, 2023, January 20)
Newly proposed legislation shows that attempts to curb trans rights were never going to stop with kids
Gender-affirming Care Saves Lives | Columbia University Department of Psychiatry (Kareen M. Matouk and Melina Wald, 2022, March 30)
Gender-affirming care is highly individualized and focuses on the needs of each individual by including psychoeducation about gender and sexuality (appropriate to age and developmental level), parental and family support, social interventions, and gender-affirming medical interventions…
Social interventions, which are considered reversible (meaning that if gender identity shifts in the future, these decisions can be adapted), are often attempted in a stepwise manner. For example, children may first begin to use a new name or pronouns in the home, and if this feels positive, they may start to do so in other environments, such as school… Social interventions have been found to lower the rates of depression and anxietyin TGNB children. Pubertal suppression, also considered fully reversible, allows for a “pause” on puberty and for further development of gender identity. Delaying puberty to promote physical development that is consistent with a child’s gender identity is associated with better mental health outcomes, improved functioning, and life satisfaction…