RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – New conversations about gender-affirming healthcare in Virginia could affect around 6,200 transgender teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17.
“Gender-affirming care saved my life,” Rosa Hamilton, Community Engagement Coordinator at He She Ze and We, a Richmond-based LGBTQ support organization, said. “It made it possible for me to keep living.”
The discussion comes after Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) was asked if he would support a ban on gender-affirming care at an event earlier this week. Youngkin instead chose to talk about his administration’s new model policies for transgender kids in school.
“We will have good discussions around the other issues,” Youngkin said. “I have got to move first to have our model politics adopted by all the jurisdictions, so parents aren’t left out.”
Shannon McKay, Executive Director of He She Ze and We, says parents are involved in decisions about gender-affirming healthcare.
“So, I think when folks are talking about banning care, they think that youth can go into a doctor’s office and get puberty blockers on their own or hormones or even have surgery, and that is absolutely not possible,” said McKay. “It takes cooperation and permission and involvement of parents.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign, 21 other states have enacted bans on certain gender-affirming healthcare. That includes several neighboring states like West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee.