Another day of waiting for supporters and opponents of transgender care bill

Senate Bill 140 would criminalize doctors for providing gender-affirming treatment, like hormone therapy, to minors in Georgia.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 6:36 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Supporters say it will help prevent kids from making irreversible changes before adulthood. Opponents say it targets an already marginalized group and poses catastrophic mental health risks. Both had another tense day of waiting for a vote on Senate Bill 140 which never came.

Senate Bill 140 would criminalize doctors for providing gender-affirming treatment, like hormone therapy, to minors in Georgia.

Monday morning came and went with no action on the bill. That didn’t stop the bill’s opponents from flocking to the statehouse to press lawmakers to vote no.

“This bill is guised in this framework of protecting children,” said Rev. Amanda Schuber with High Street Unitarian Universalist Church. “This is going to kill children.”

Rev. Schuber, who drove all the way from Macon to support the LGBTQ community said SB140 would exacerbate already existing stigmas and struggles facing transgender people.

“There’s terror and there’s sadness,” she said. “People feel like they’re not being seen and heard as wholly human beings.”

All over the statehouse Monday, transgender pride signs filled the hallways. Peter Nunn, a board member with the Georgia chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, stood outside the Senate chambers and anxiously waited for a vote.

Nunn points to staggering statistics that he said would be worsened if the bill were to pass.

“Transgender children that receive affirming care through doctors are 60% less likely to attempt suicide because they are receiving that care,” he said. “If there was any other way that we could reduce a suicide rate by 60%, we would jump on that. So why are we now attacking a community that is already at higher risk?”

Nunn understands more than most. A member of the LGBTQ community himself, he once tried to commit suicide as a minor.

“I understand what it’s like to feel like the world doesn’t want you,” Nunn said.

It’s also a concern for those who are paying attention to the rising levels of violence against the transgender community as a whole.

“Black trans women, 85% have been victims of some kind of violent crime,” said Rev. Jean Bell with the Spiritual Living Center of Atlanta. “This affects trans black youth, as well as the broader trans community.”

There is still no word on when the bill could come to the floor for a vote, but lawmakers are running out of time with just about a week to go in Georgia’s current legislative session.