Mississippi has become the latest state to ban gender-affirming procedures for minors. Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill into law that prohibits gender transition procedures, including puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgeries, to anyone under the age of 18. The move has been met with criticism from LGBTQ+ advocates who argue that it will harm transgender youth and limit their access to necessary medical care.
The bill was passed by the state Senate with a split partisan vote and took effect immediately upon being signed into law. Mississippi is now the sixth state in the US to adopt such legislation, joining Arkansas, Tennessee, Montana, South Dakota, and Idaho.
Supporters of the ban argue that it protects minors from making irreversible decisions about their bodies before they are old enough to fully understand the consequences. However, opponents say that it ignores the medical consensus that gender-affirming care is safe and effective for transgender youth.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has stated that gender-affirming care can improve mental health outcomes for transgender youth and reduce their risk of suicide. The AAP also notes that delaying or denying such care can lead to negative health outcomes and psychological distress.
Critics of the ban have vowed to fight it in court, arguing that it violates constitutional protections against discrimination based on sex and infringes on individuals' right to make decisions about their own bodies.