HELENA – The Montana House advanced two bills impacting transgender youth Monday despite opposition from a broad coalition of health care providers, human rights activists and business owners.
The bills would prohibit transgender youth from participating in school sports according to the gender with which they identify, and ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors.
Supporters say the bills would protect the integrity of women’s sports and protect minors from life-altering medical treatment. Opponents say the measures would harm the physical and mental wellbeing of transgender youth.
“We cannot let fear mongering and lies about what it means to be transgender result in laws that would stigmatize trans youth, harm families and communities, and drive businesses away from Montana,” Caitlin Borgmann, the executive director of the ACLU of Montana, said in a statement. “Trans youth deserve respect and dignity for everything they are.”
The sponsor of the bills, Rep. John Fuller, R-Whitefish, said the bills are an opportunity to protect children.
“By protecting them, we are not denying them care, compassion, counseling, whatever,” Fuller said.
The medical treatment bill passed 53-47, with some Republicans joining Democrats in opposition. The school sports bill advanced 62-38.
The bills face a third vote in the House before moving to the Senate.
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