Discover the contents of the guidebook about expenses for health care in transgender individuals.

Aaron and Lacy Genen have deep roots in Arkansas, and their entire lives have been spent there, attending major state colleges and supporting their families. The thought of moving to one of the few states that don’t threaten gender-affirming medical care for their transgender daughter Sabrina is heart-wrenching. Aaron Genen says that they just need to wait until Sabrina is 18 to avoid all of the horrible things associated with the move.

Seventeen states have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming care for transgender minors, but judges have temporarily blocked enforcement in some states like Arkansas. An Associated Press analysis revealed that the bills often emerged from a few conservative interest groups’ pens, rather than grassroots or voter demand. Many proposals submitted or passed are nearly identical to some model bills AP found. Critics say these bills let a few far-right groups spread false theories based on distorted science and allow them to gain power.

Plural, an agency, provided AP with the text of over 130 bills from 40 state legislatures. Plural, jointly analyzed the bills with a policy software firm and found many similarities between some of the bills and two model bills proposed by conservative groups Do No Harm and Family Research Council. One example is Montana, where nearly all the wording in at least one of the bills can be found in Do No Harm’s model. Democratic Senator Janet Ellis argued that this is an issue pushed by well-funded national groups and criticized Republican Senator John Fuller, who tweaked the model before introducing it a few weeks later. Despite the controversy, Montana’s bill ultimately passed in March with much of the model “Do No Harm” language unchanged.

The limitations on gender-affirming care for young people caused concern as critics say they allow far-right groups to spread false theories based on distorted science across the country. A professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, Dr. Jack Dresher, who edited the section on gender dysphoria in the American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic manual, said the bills often distort valid science supporting gender-affirming care for young people. Republicans see it as a strategy to motivate voters and try to focus on social “wedge issues” regarding the transgender life.

Do No Harm, which has been registered in at least four states, lobbied against race in medical education and employment last year. Family Research Council is an advocacy group against abortion and LGBTQ+ rights and supports Do No Harm. Critics of these groups argue that they launch model bills to gain power and access. In Arkansas, Sabrina Jennen continues to receive gender-affirming medical care, and the family will continue to fight for their rights.

The Associated Press brought journalists around the country, including Arkansas, Montana, and Mississippi. Harjai is a member of the Associated Press/United States Capitol News Initiative news agency. Report for America sends journalists to cover-up issues in local newsrooms. Copyright 2023 Associated Press.

Leave a Reply