South Carolina bill targeting transgender youth would be 'disastrous'

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A new proposal by Republican state lawmakers would make it illegal for transgender individuals under 18 to obtain gender confirmation treatment or surgery.

A Republican legislator in South Carolina has proposed a new bill that would make it illegal for transgender individuals under 18 to receive hormonal treatments or gender confirmation surgery, according to a report from the Post and Courier.

GOP State Rep. Stewart Jones compared the ban to a ban on cigarettes and alcohol in an interview with the Post and Courier, saying, "Somebody under 18, they can’t buy cigarettes and alcohol, and so they shouldn’t be able to have a sex change."

Jones' bill comes after the state already failed to pass a "bathroom bill" — an anti-transgender piece of legislation that would require transgender individuals to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender they were assigned at birth.

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The would-be-ban mimics proposed bans from Republican lawmakers in Georgia, Kentucky, and Texas, according to NBC News. Georgia's proposed bill goes as far as making it a felony for doctors to treat transgender youth.

The Post and Courier reported that Jones is currently the only sponsor of the bill, however he told the newspaper that he is lobbying lawmakers to back the proposal when the state legislature starts its session in January.

LGBTQ rights activists say Jones' bill could have devastating consequences for transgender youth.

"This is obviously a very troubling bill. This is an incredibly vulnerable population that we’re talking about, with an already high suicide rate," Chase Glenn, the executive director of the Alliance for Full Acceptance, an LGBTQ rights group based in Charleston, South Carolina, told the Post and Courier.

"This could have disastrous implications."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.