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MONTGOMERY, AL – MARCH 30: Jodi Womack holds a sign that reads ‘We Love Our Trans Youth’ during a rally at the Alabama State House to draw attention to anti-transgender legislation introduced in Alabama on March 30, 2021, in Montgomery, Alabama. There are so far 192 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the United States. Of those, 93 directly target transgender people. (Photo by Julie Bennett/Getty Images)
  • A new Alabama law says it’s a felony to provide gender-affirming medical care to transgender or gender nonconforming minors, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
  • The law is the latest in a wave of anti-trans legislation affecting transgender communities.
  • But gender-affirming care can be lifesaving for trans youth, reducing their chances of developing depression and suicidality.
  • A federal judge weighs whether to issue an injunction to block the law, but the fight for trans rights is far from over.

On May 8, an Alabama law affecting transgender minors went into effect, making it a felony to provide transition-related medical treatment to transgender and gender nonconforming minors.

After sweeping through the House last month, on April 8, 2022, Governor Kay Ivey signed the Alabama Senate Bill 184 (SB 184) into law.

Alabama is the third state in the country — along with Arkansas and Texas — to block or restrict gender-affirming medical care to minors, and the first state to officially make it a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Liles Burke is currently weighing whether to issue an injunction to block the new law.

Despite medical experts recommending gender-affirming care for trans minors, conservative lawmakers continue to rail against science, often in the name of personal or religious beliefs.

SB 184 bans puberty blockers, hormones, and gender-affirming medical procedures for trans youth under age 19, which can be lifesaving for transgender people.

The Trevor Project, a research organization for LGBTQ+ suicide prevention, recently condemned multiple anti-transgender bills that were signed into law by the Alabama governor, including SB 184.

“At the eleventh hour, the governor of Alabama signed into law a slate of arguably the most extreme anti-trans bills we have ever seen,” said Sam Ames, director of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project, in a statement.

“These policies attempt to make providing gender-affirming care a felony and cut off access to nearly every support system transgender and nonbinary youth have — support systems we know are critical for reducing their suicide risk and for advancing their positive mental health,” they said.

Research from 2022 in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows that gender-affirming hormone therapy lowered the risk of depression and suicidality for the 12,000 transgender and nonbinary youth ages 13 to 24 who were surveyed.

Other research has shown similar positive results.

Medical experts and organizations — such as the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Psychological Association — agree that restricting access to gender-affirming care for transgender minors could be detrimental to their well-being.

Gender-affirming care is offered at an age-appropriate level under the supervision and guidance of a medical professional.

Hormone therapies such as puberty blockers aren’t offered to younger trans children until the first signs of puberty appear. And in most cases, gender-affirming surgeries aren’t offered to young people under the age of 18.

And according to a recent poll by the Trevor Project, the majority of adults think that transgender minors should have access to gender-affirming hormone therapy (55%) and puberty blockers (52%) if the treatments are recommended by doctors and supported by parents.

As the transgender communities and allies in Alabama and beyond express outrage, sources close to Psych Central said we can expect a decision by the federal judge by the end of the week.

If the law is blocked, it would mark a moment of progress for the trans community. But the fight for trans rights is far from over, regardless of the outcome.

“They will not succeed,” Ames said. “To trans and nonbinary youth in Alabama and across the country: This is not over. We will fight as far as it takes, until the day every young person knows they are loved, supported, and worthy just as they are. We’re here with you today, we’re here for you every day, and we’re not going anywhere.”

This is a developing story.