The American Counseling Association Governing Council, at its Wednesday, February 12, 2020 meeting, endorsed the Society for Sexual, Affectional, Intersex, and Gender Expansive Identities Division (formerly Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Issues in Counseling) Position Statement Regarding Anti-Trans Legislation.
Position Statement Regarding
Lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, intersex and gender expansive people in America face
discrimination daily. While many states work to pass laws to protect
*LGBTGEQIAP+ from discrimination, we continue to see state legislatures
advancing bills that target transgender people to allow, and in some cases
mandate, discrimination. Many of the current measures target transgender and
nonbinary people for discrimination, such as by barring access to or even
criminalizing healthcare for transgender youth.
In South Dakota HB 1057, which
successfully passed out of committee, would make providing certain forms of
gender-affirming medical care to minors, including the prescription of puberty
blockers, a Class Four felony, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison
in South Dakota. Proponents of the bill lack education and awareness of the
potential harm interfering with the doctor-patient relationship could cause to
South Dakota’s trans health care
bill is not the only state legislation that has lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and queer individuals facing potential discrimination and harm.
More than 25 anti-LGBTQ bills that have been proposed so far in 2020. Many of
the bills, like South Dakota’s, focus on transgender youth, but a number of others
as well, deal with nondiscrimination protections and religious exemptions.
Chase Strangio, deputy director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, called this
legislative session “one of the most hostile” for LGBTQ people in recent years.
Bills seeking to limit transgender health care for minors have been introduced
in at least seven states this month.
Like South Dakota, Florida and
Colorado have introduced bills that carry criminal penalties. The
"Vulnerable Child Protection Act," one of four bills proposed in
Florida would make providing certain medical care or treatments to transgender
minors, including nonsurgical care, like hormone therapy, a second-degree
felony. Medical practitioners could face up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000
fine. While bills introduced in Illinois, Oklahoma and South Carolina impose
professional penalties, including the loss of a medical license, on those who
provide trans health care to minors.
Some current legislation goes
beyond the provider and targets the family of trans minors.
In Missouri, proposed legislation
has penalties for the medical provider and includes penalties for parents or
guardians of transgender minors, including a requirement that they be reported
to child services. A proposal introduced in New Hampshire last year, which is
still active, would add “sexual reassignment” to the definition of child abuse
in the state’s Child Protection Act.
The Association for Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling understands that a sudden
interruption in health care could precipitate physical and mental health crises
among trans youth. Gender-affirming medical and mental health care for
transgender and gender expansive youth is lifesaving (Comprehensive Research Brief). We stand in
solidarity with parents, caregivers, and treatment providers for transgender
and gender expansive youth. ALGBTIC’s views are in line with the American
Academy of Pediatrics, whose accepted best practice is comprehensive
gender-affirming medical care since 2018.
The proposed laws, if enacted,
could bring devastating harms to transgender and gender-expansive individuals.
ALGBTIC strongly opposes any bills that creates life threatening barriers,
allows for discrimination, or is in opposition to the American Counseling
Association’s Code of Ethics.
Call to Action:
We ask that members, counselors,
advocates, and allies take the following step in advocating against
discriminatory bills in your state:
Share this information with your peers, colleagues, and help build
awareness of the potential threat this causes to our community, particularly
for our trans youth and adolescents seeking medical support.
2. Take a moment to see if bills
are introduced in your state by checking
3. If there is a discriminatory
bill active in your state, follow the link above to find the sponsoring
representative. Take a moment to let them know via email or a phone call that
you oppose the discriminatory bill. (For advocacy tips see here) *
LGBTGEQIAPP Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Transgender, & Two-Spirit (2S;
Native Identity), Gender Expansive, Queer & Questioning, Intersex, Agender,
Asexual, Aromantic, Pansexual; Pan/Polygender; & Poly Relationship Systems,
+ = We continue to be Inclusive of Other Related Identities by Being Committed
to EverPExpanding, Learning, & Growing the Acronym and Our Understanding of