On March 9th, 2021, Cezar McKnight, a democratic representative of South Carolina introduced bill H. 4047, which would illegalize minors who identify as transgender from receiving any aid in transitioning, such as hormone therapy or puberty blockers. He is joined by 23 Republican representatives; however, the rest of his party unanimously slammed the bill.
Democrats in the South Carolina House “condemns this outrageous bill- and its democratic supporters- in the strongest possible terms.”
McKnight claims that the bill doesn’t come from a place of transphobia. He told Associated Press that he “doesn’t think” anyone under the age of 18 should be able to change their gender. He added that he received support from constituents who believe that gender affirming procedures aren’t wrong but should be delayed until adulthood.
Practices that would be banned under this bill include doctors performing procedures that alter gender (i.e removing tissue), or prescribing medications that would delay puberty or alter gender, such as puberty blockers and often life-saving hormones. This bill also prohibits teachers and school professionals from “encouraging” or “coerce” a child to keep from their parents that they do not identify with the biological sex they were born with, as well as having to tell the child’s parents if they have been confided in. Violation can end in sentences of up to 20 years in prison.
This bill is another in a number of bill’s that are trying to control the experiences of minors who identify as transgender, but the first that is attempting to possibly sever ties that transgender kids have to the outside world if they are not ready to discuss the subject with their family.
Lee Savio Beers, president of the AAP, points out that this bill would take away from the job’s doctors are meant to do. “The legislation would allow policymakers rather than pediatricians to determine the best course of care for our patients and in some medically underserved states, it could mean losing an already limited number of pediatric practitioners who care for transgender youth.”
She adds “Forcing transgender children to play on teams according to their sex assigned at birth, rather than the gender they live in, also puts their physical and mental health at risk.”
This statement echoes the worries of a bill that was proposed earlier this month, “The Fairness in women’s sports act”, that would ban transgender females from playing on a woman’s team. Much like that bill, there is also no basis of which this law is needed, just the feelings of a cisgender lawmaker.