Earlier this week, Georgia's General Assembly wielded its power to try and strip away the humanity of trans and non-binary youth by passing Senate Bill 140. This bill, which bans most forms of gender-affirming healthcare for young people under 18, demonstrates a callous disregard for the lives, dignity, and well-being of some of our most vulnerable community members.
Governor Brian Kemp has the power to stop this cruel bill from becoming law, and we urge him to do so.
The mental health consequences of denying trans and non-binary youth gender-affirming care cannot be overstated. Denials increase the risk of suicide, causing irreversible harm not only to these young people but also to their families and our communities. Moreover, this bill disproportionately affects Black LGBTQ+ youth, who already face devastating oppression at the intersection of anti-Black racism and transphobia.
One in four Black trans or non-binary youth in the United States has reported a suicide attempt within the past year. This is a rate that exceeds both their cisgender Black peers and their White LGBTQ+ peers. Black trans people experience overwhelming discrimination, resulting in unemployment, homelessness, and poverty rates that are far higher than their White or cisgender counterparts.
When trans people have the support of their families, medical providers, and communities at a young age, they report better mental health and fewer suicide attempts, leading to better long-term outcomes. However, the majority of Georgia's legislators have turned their backs on young Georgians. These out-of-touch lawmakers have denied young people the tools and support they need– alienating them instead of affirming them.
Supporters of Senate Bill 140 claim they want to "protect children" from "irreversible" "permanent physical harm." In reality, they are doing the exact opposite. They are sending a clear message to trans and non-binary Georgians: to receive care, you must leave the state.
Women Engaged is demanding that Governor Kemp veto Senate Bill 140. Young people in Georgia deserve bodily autonomy. This bill does not protect them; it robs them of their personhood and their ability to make their own healthcare decisions.
Trans and non-binary youth have the right to make their own healthcare decisions in the privacy of their homes, in partnership with compassionate healthcare providers and supportive loved ones. Black trans and non-binary youth, in particular, deserve to be seen, heard, and treated by providers who offer culturally competent care and respect their autonomy. Trans and non-binary young people need affirmation, not alienation.
In a time when our country is grappling with systemic racism and discrimination, we must rise above the hatred and fear-mongering. We must stand in solidarity with our trans and non-binary youth, ensuring they have the care, support, and love they need to thrive.
Join us in condemning Senate Bill 140 and reaffirming our collective commitment to LGBTQ+ rights. Contact Governor Kemp's office today at (404) 656-1776 to tell him trans youth in Georgia deserve better and to veto Senate Bill 140.
Together, we can create a Georgia that is just, equitable, and compassionate, where all our young people can live their lives authentically and without fear.
Co-Founder and CEO, Women Engaged