Trans Activist Blasts States Banning 'Hormone Therapy' for Kids: 'Children Will Die'
Transgender Advocate Willow Breshears warns of spike in child deaths
Transgender advocate Willow Breshears took aim at states banning "gender-affirming care" for transgender children claiming it will cause a spike in child deaths.
18-year-old Breshears said legislators have no place in policing transgender children's bodies, USAToday reported.
Breshears recently testified before state lawmakers to prevent the passage of a state law banning health care providers from giving "gender-affirming care" to youth under the age of 18.
"Gender-affirming care" includes hormone therapy and puberty blockers.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, vetoed a bill last week that would have made the state the first to ban gender-affirming medical care.
Hutchinson said the Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act, or SAFE Act, was "a vast government overreach."
But the legislature overrode Hutchinson's veto, and the House voted 71-24 and the Senate 25-8.
The SAFE Act, according to the outlet, "also prohibits physicians from referring patients to other providers and, in what some call a particularly heinous move, includes no grandfather clause for youth already under treatment."
"The only people who should have that say is that transgender person, their family, and their doctors," Breshears insisted.
"This is not a place for legislators to step into."
Breshears said she believes she might not be alive today if she hadn't had transgender therapy.
"I had heard the word 'transgender' a couple times before that, but never really in a positive way," said Breshears.
"That's what really helped me flourish. I was a woman, but I never really knew the words to describe that."
The deputy executive director for the National Center for Transgender Equality, Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, said banning transgender children from transitioning raises the risk of serious mental health issues.
"There's only so many people taking puberty blockers in Arkansas," he said.
"But every single transgender person is feeling the effect of this attack. It's the government, pure and simple, saying 'You don't belong.' It's such an antagonistic and heartless message to send."
Arkansas Rep. Deborah Ferguson, a Democrat, spoke out against the bill, saying four dozen Arkansas youth had reportedly attempted to commit suicide after receiving hormone therapy.
"Unfortunately, the makeup of our legislature has changed to the extent that we are weaponizing religion to discriminate against this small minority," Fergon said.
According to the outlet:
"Advocates say access to gender-affirming medical care is linked with better mental health, including a lower incidence of suicidal thoughts. Bills denying such care have been condemned by major medical groups around the country, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association."
Christa and Jeff White, whose daughter is a 12-year-old transgender person, said they worry about their daughter's mental health.
"The idea that this could put my daughter in danger is not OK with me," said Christa White, a stay-at-home mom and women's rights activist.
"This is potentially devastating, not just to our child, but to all transgender children undergoing these treatments. Children will die."
The Human Rights Campaign also blasted the law as a "cruel and shameful way for legislators to score political points by targeting transgender youth who are simply trying to navigate their adolescence."