Veto overridden: Ban on gender-affirming care for minors takes effect in North Carolina

Transgender youth in North Carolina lost access Wednesday to gender-affirming medical treatments after the Republican-led General Assembly overrode the Governor’s vetoes of that legislation and other bills touching on gender in sports and LGBTQ+ instruction in the classroom.

GOP supermajorities in the House and Senate enacted — over Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s opposition — a bill barring medical professionals from providing hormone therapy, puberty-blocking drugs and surgical gender-transition procedures to anyone under 18, with limited exceptions.

The law takes effect immediately. But minors who had begun treatment before Aug. 1 may continue receiving that care if their doctors deem it medically necessary and their parents consent.

North Carolina becomes the 22nd state to enact legislation restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. But most face legal challenges, and local LGBTQ+ rights advocates vow to take the ban to court. The Senate voted 27-18 to complete the veto override after the House voted 74-45 earlier. Two House Democrats joined all present Republicans in supporting the override bid.

Democratic Sen. Lisa Grafstein, North Carolina’s only out LGBTQ+ state Senator, said the gender-affirming care bill “may be the most heartbreaking bill in a truly heartbreaking session.”

Republican Sen. Joyce Krawiec, the bill’s primary sponsor, argued the state has a responsibility to protect children from receiving potentially irreversible procedures before they are old enough to make their own informed medical decisions.

Gender-affirming care is considered safe and medically necessary by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association and the Endocrine Society. While trans minors very rarely receive surgical interventions, they are commonly prescribed drugs to delay puberty and sometimes begin taking hormones before reaching adulthood.

Some LGBTQ+ rights advocates in the Senate gallery began yelling after Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, who was presiding, cut off Grafstein to let another lawmaker speak. Several people were then escorted out by capitol police.

Earlier, the Senate and House voted minutes apart to override another veto of a bill limiting LGBTQ+ instruction in the early grades. The law now requires that public school teachers in most circumstances alert parents before they call a student by a different name or pronoun. It also bans instruction about gender identity and sexuality in K-4 classrooms, which critics have previously likened to a Florida law opponents call “Don’t Say Gay.”

Nathaniel Dibble, 19, and other LGBTQ+ youth who rallied outside the Legislative Building, said the bill would make schools unsafe for transgender students who could be outed by a teacher to unsupportive parents.

But bill sponsor Sen. Amy Galey, an Alamance County Republican, said parents have a right to know details about their children’s education. “Parents need to be brought into the conversation from the very beginning, not treated with suspicion or as the source of that anguish,” she said.

Both chambers also voted Wednesday to override Cooper’s veto of another bill banning transgender girls from playing on girls’ sports teams from middle and high school through college. It, too, immediately became law.

Republished with permission from The Associated Press.




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