Utah GOP seeks to to block gender-affirming treatment for transgender youth

Posted at 4:41 PM, August 16, 2022 and last updated 2:10 AM, December 13, 2022

By Emily Tencer

SALT LAKE CITY (KSTU) — The Utah Republican Party passed a resolution encouraging the banning of surgeries and hormone therapy for transitioning transgender minors.

“We don’t let them drink until they’re 21. We don’t let them get tattoos until they’re 18. This should be no different,” said Carson Jorgensen, chairman of the Utah Republican Party.

Utah State Capitol (KSTU)

Jorgensen sponsored the resolution, “Protecting Those Most Vulnerable.”

The resolution, adopted by the GOP State Central Committee on Saturday, states: “The Utah Republican Party fully supports the banning of affirmation surgeries, hormone therapy, and puberty-blocking procedures for the purpose of elective gender transitioning on minors. We stand behind all of our elected officials in their efforts against these harmful and irreversible procedures being performed on Utah’s children.”

“This is about protecting them and once they’re 18, once they’re 21, by all means, do your thing,” Jorgensen said.

The resolution is co-sponsored by Utah Senate President J. Stuart Adams and House Speaker Brad Wilson.

Jorgensen hopes their support can sway lawmakers in the next legislative session. A similar bill was introduced previously and failed.

“I think this gives them a clear runway to say, ‘You know what, this is something we need to tackle. This is something we need to look at,’” he said.

“This is really an interesting approach to a state that likes to think that it champions parents’ rights,” said Jessica Dummar, co-CEO of the Utah Pride Center.

Dummar said access to surgeries and hormones is not an easy process.

“You need to have multiple letters from mental health therapists agreeing with this, with the procedures,” she explained. “Then you need to have a medical doctor also in support.”

She fears minors’ mental health will dramatically decline if transitioning isn’t a possibility.

“They’re hearing, ‘If you’re having thoughts, be quiet.’ They’re not hearing, ‘If you’re having thoughts, reach out. If you’re having thoughts, get help,’” said Dummar. “If you’re having thoughts, that’s normal.”

This isn’t the first time this year where Utah’s young transgender population has been the topic among politicians. The future is still uncertain for the state law that blocks transgender athletes from playing school sports. A judge listened to those arguments on Thursday.

This story was originally published Aug. 16, 2022 by KSTU in Salt Lake City, an E.W. Scripps Company.