Governor Doug Ducey may soon sign into law a ban on transgender surgeries for minors; the Arizona House passed a Senate bill to bar surgeries for minors to attempt a gender transition on Thursday. The bill, SB1138, passed along party lines.
Major opponents of the bill among the LGBTQ community include activists from Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a national organization focused on pushing LGBTQ ideologies and activism onto children. One such activist also identified herself as a GLSEN lobbyist and community editor for several years, during which time she testified one of her daughters went through puberty and became withdrawn, depressed, and socially isolated. Young said that she encouraged her daughter to transition genders after no amount of therapy, support groups, or psychiatric medications alleviated her poor mental health. Even so, Young says her daughter doesn’t fully identify as male, but rather “male-leaning” on what they both consider the “spectrum” of gender.
Another activist — ACLU staff attorney Chase Strangio, a transgender man known for her work defending transgender individuals, such as convicted spy Chelsea Manning — promised to mobilize efforts to convince Ducey to veto the legislation.
The legislation almost didn’t make it through initial consideration stages in the Senate. State Senator Tyler Pace (R-Mesa) wouldn’t back the bill at first during the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, arguing that parents should have the right to make medical decisions for their children. Pace later changed his mind, citing current international standards of care from health care experts on transgenderism. At present, the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) doesn’t support gender transitioning surgeries for minors.
“There’s a certain threshold of irreversibility that can happen during a gender transition. We acknowledge as a state, and so does other very friendly transgender countries like Finland, like I brought up earlier, as well as the international organizations that say: when you get to this degree of irreversibility, it should not be made as a minor,” said Pace after changing his mind.
Just as with the House, the bill passed along party lines in the Senate.
The Arizona Senate passed a bill banning gender reassignment surgeries for minors late last week after State Senator Tyler Pace (R-Mesa) switched his vote. Pace voted against the original version of the bill during the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. At the time, Pace argued that parents should have the right to make those medical decisions for their children.
Pace agreed to support the bill after he authored a strike-all amendment modifying it, which the committee approved. The amendment removed language prohibiting physicians or health care professionals from referring minors to health care professionals for gender transition procedures. It also removed language prohibiting government funds from going to entities, organizations, or individuals that provide gender transition procedures to minors.
When the committee reconsidered the bill as rewritten under Pace’s amendment, Pace cited the international standards of care of World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) to justify his changed mind, noting that they don’t support transgender surgeries for minors. Pace clarified that physicians who implement gender reassignment surgeries on minors would be in violation of international best standards of care and subject to sanctions otherwise.
“There’s a certain threshold of irreversibility that can happen during a gender transition. We acknolwedge as a state, and so does other very friendly transgender countries like Finland, like I brought up earlier, as well as the international organizations that say: when you get to this degree of irreversibility, it should not be made as a minor,” said Pace.
There was disagreement in the committee between State Senators Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) and Raquel Terán (D-Phoenix); Terán wanted to hear more public testimony, but Barto said that they heard almost 3 hours on the same subject the previous week.
The final Senate version of the bill removed the amendment stipulation that a minor must not have lived continuously in the gender role congruent with their gender identity for 12 months in order for the surgical prohibition to apply.
During the Senate floor vote, Democrats said the legislation opposed equality and attacked minors. State Senator Christine Marsh (D-Phoenix) said the bill was an “unnecessary,” masked effort to choose “buzz-words out of thin air” for the true objective of attacking children.
State Senator Rosanna Gabaldon (D-Sahuarita) claimed that transgender procedures merely prevented puberty. Gabaldon didn’t broach the subject of reported adverse effects of hormone blockers and therapies or gender reassignment surgeries.
With the amended language, the bill passed along party lines — no Republicans objected to it.