Mississippi bans gender-affirming care for transgender youth

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves on Tuesday signed into law a bill banning gender-affirming care for minors, a move decried by LGBTQ rights advocates as a “devastating development” for transgender youth in the state.

House Bill 1125, which went into effect immediately, penalizes parents and doctors who “aid and abet” transgender youth seeking gender-affirming care. This medical care is considered “a supportive form of healthcare” that improves “the mental health and overall well-being of gender-diverse children and adolescents,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The new law allows for doctors to be sued by their former patients within a 30-year statute of limitations.

The ban is the latest example of an ongoing push by lawmakers in conservative states to restrict the rights of the LGBTQ community — especially transgender youth.

With the new law, Mississippi became the nation’s third state to enact such a ban in recent weeks, despite opposition by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The governors of Utah and South Dakota signed similar bills into law within the past month, while laws in Alabama and Arkansas are currently enjoined by federal courts.

“Barely two months into the year, lawmakers in three states have made it their priority to deny transgender and nonbinary youth the ability to access best-practice medical care that many rely on to simply lead happy, healthy lives,” said Kasey Suffredini, VP of advocacy and governments at The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth.

In a recent peer-reviewed study by the group, researchers found that gender-affirming hormone therapy was associated with nearly 40% lower odds of recent depression and of a past-year suicide attempt among trans youth.

“Decisions around medical care should be made between parents, patients and doctors — not by politicians,” Suffredini told the Daily News in an emailed statement.

The ban is a “devastating development for transgender youth in Mississippi and heartbreaking for all of us who love and support them,” the American Civil Liberties Union and its Mississippi affiliate said in a joint statement.

“But this fight is far from over — we are determined to build a future where Mississippi is a safe place to raise every child,” the statement added.