Concerns are growing among transgender minors in Georgia as a state law banning hormone treatments goes into effect on July 1

ATLANTA – At midnight on June 30, transgender minors in Georgia who are not yet on hormone treatments will be barred from flying after the state legislature passed a controversial law in March of this year.

A transgender teacher at an organization that works with queer youth said the children she works with are very aware of the deadline.

“Broadly speaking, we see an emergency,” said the teacher, who asked the recorder not to release her name or the name of her organization because of the recent spike in threats. “None of our students have left the state, but we have friends who have slightly younger trans children who have left the state. And our parents and other people in our larger community with trans kids are talking about, “When are we leaving?”

The teacher said the children followed the debate on the bill during the session and also followed laws in other states.

“I want them to be informed, but I also want them to have some sense of security. Even if it’s an illusion of security, they’re kids and I think that would still be healthy for them.”

Georgia governors typically wait until after the state legislature to sign bills, but Kemp approved Senate Bill 140 in March, just days after receiving final Senate approval.

“As Georgians, parents and elected leaders, it is our highest responsibility to ensure our children’s bright, bright future – and SB 140 is taking an important step towards fulfilling that mission,” he said, echoing the arguments of Republican supporters of the bill. who said the law will prevent minors from making irreversible medical decisions before they are mature enough to make them.

Dozens of transgender minors, family members and doctors say they see things differently. So did the teacher who spoke to the recorder as students in Georgia prepared for summer vacation. She said it was unusual for her program to have many new participants at the end of the semester, but that’s exactly what she saw.

She said each of her students had been called insults at school and had lost friends or family members in the transition.

“It’s weird for us to have kids at the end of a school year because it’s a weird time to transition, but it seems like either the whole year adds up and the kids, it’s like a high point, and that it is.” It may be that it takes a long part of the school year and they eventually fail, or that the bill and the rhetoric surrounding it may have increased harassment in schools.”

The teacher said she is confident all of her current students who wish to undergo hormone therapy can do so before the deadline.

“But we’re getting new students now and I’m not sure how they are doing yet and I’m not sure if that’s the care they want to access,” she added. “Not every child wants access to this care, even if they are trans, because being trans can mean a lot and medical transition is just part of it.”

“The next wave of students we have will have different conversations with them,” she added.



treatment of patients

The bill also creates uncertainty for medical providers who care for transgender youth, said Dr. Izzy Lowell, whose Atlanta-based practice QueerMed provides gender-affirming care to minors and adults. Physicians who break Georgian law could lose their license and potentially face civil or criminal penalties, but Lowell and her team will do everything they can to comply with the letter of the law.

“Everyone agreed, everyone was offered to stay up at midnight until June 30 and see new patients if needed to admit people,” Lowell said.

Unlike other states, which have banned sex-based childcare for minors, Georgian law allows the use of hormone blockers. Lawmakers said it was a compromise designed to allow transgender children to delay puberty and defer making the decision to transition until they are 18.

Lowell said that scenario isn’t medically possible because puberty blockers were originally developed to treat what’s known as precocious puberty, where a child starts puberty much too early.

“They should be used to stop puberty for a year or maybe two years to get you to nine or eight years, which is a normal time for puberty to start,” she said. “They were never intended to be used long-term or past the typical age of puberty. What we’re talking about here: If someone comes to us at the age of ten and starts puberty, we can’t put them on puberty blockers for eight years. It is medically unsafe and use for such a long time is absolutely contraindicated.”

During the House debate on the bill, Atlanta Democratic Rep. Park Cannon held up a box of hormones and warned that Republicans could make children try to manage their own care without a doctor’s supervision.

Lowell said she has concerns about using online-bought hormones, sometimes referred to as “do-it-yourself.” She said she understands why people are turning to these products, but strongly discourages use because they are not FDA approved and could lead to serious medical problems.

“I have a lot of patients who come to us after they’ve done DIY for a while, and I tell patients, ‘A lot of people do that.'” I get it. It’s really difficult to access. So I understand you had to do that. And thank you for joining us. Thank you for telling me you did this. Now we will make it safer and get you what you need in a safe way.’”

cross state borders

QueerMed provides patient care in 25 states, including some that already have bans similar to Georgia’s.

“Basically, because of the way the laws work, we can treat patients in any of the 25 states that we cover,” she said. “For example, a patient in Florida, where a ban went into effect, would have to leave Florida so that he could go to Georgia or South Carolina, where we have a license, and then we could legally see him, if available, physically outside.” of the State of Florida located in a state in which we are licensed.”

The transition requires a lot of appointments, Lowell said. After initially diagnosing gender dysphoria, she will talk to a patient about the effects of hormone therapy and perform a series of tests of hormone levels and organ function to make sure the patient’s body is handling the hormones.

If the tests are positive, which is usually the case, especially in young people, the patient first needs parental consent. QueerMed strongly recommends contacting a therapist if one is available in your area.

Underage patients start with a low dose of testosterone or estrogen and need to check every three months that everything is going smoothly before increasing the dose.

“I do this partially to make sure it’s right for the person,” Lowell said. “You might say, ‘Actually, I thought I wanted estrogen, but it doesn’t feel right.’ I think I’ll stop.’ And it would be totally reversible. That never happens. But most importantly, for patients and families, it’s reassuring to have that window of opportunity where we’re not causing lasting change.”

After two to three years of increasing the dosage, the appointments decrease to every six months, and once the patient is an adult, he only needs to come in for a check-up once a year.

Lowell said some Georgia patients had planned to make regular trips to Alabama, where a federal judge temporarily blocked a ban on gender-based care, despite the fact that it’s difficult for many family budgets and work schedules. North Florida could soon be another option for medical tourism after a similar ban was temporarily blocked there last week.

Carl Charles, senior attorney at Lambda Legal, an LGBTQ legal organization, said Florida’s law is not dissimilar to Georgia’s and he hopes Georgia’s law will also be suspended before it goes into effect.

“This is definitely a step in the right direction, but Georgian law also needs to be challenged, and unfortunately, it’s just a reality that we can’t assume from this great judgment that a judge will find the same,” he said he . “But it’s certainly reason to hope and expect that federal courts can take these issues seriously and understand what’s at stake.”

This article was first published by the Georgia Recorder, part of the States Newsroom network of news bureaus with the Louisiana Illuminator. As a 501c(3) public charity, it is supported by grants and a coalition of donors. Georgia Recorder maintains editorial independence. If you have any questions, please contact editor John McCosh: [email protected]. Follow Georgia Recorder on Facebook and Twitter.