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Dear [title] [last name],
Please, vote NO on HB578 and HB1027 on April 14 in the Health Committee.
These bills are bad for youth and bad for healthcare providers.
HB578 is a significant change to the recommended standard of care for children questioning their gender identity. Institutions including the Endocrine Society, American Medical Society, American Psychological Society, American Psychiatric Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics all advocate for supporting children as they navigate gender identity concerns. And they all agree that safely guided gender transition in children (in collaboration with parents and medical providers) is not a criminal offense, but standard and ethical practice.
Denying best practices in medical care and support to transgender youth can be life-threatening. It has been shown to contribute to depression, social isolation, self-hatred, risk of self-harm, and suicidal behavior. Research shows that transgender youth whose families support their gender identity have a 52% decrease in suicidal thoughts, a 48% decrease in suicide attempts, and significant increases in self-esteem and overall health.
Labeling doctors who provide the current ethical standard of care as child abusers is another dangerous feature of this bill. The law should not drive a wedge between doctors and patients.
HB1027 unnecessarily puts standards of care for transgender youth into the Tennessee Code. It is unusual to codify standards of care. This bill opens the door to further restrictions on life-saving health care for a population that is already underserved. The bills sponsors should show more faith in trans youth, their parents, and trained healthcare professionals. This is not government's role.
Thank you for considering my views.