West Virginia passes bill protecting children from transgender procedures

The rule would prohibit children under 18 from receiving treatment such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and genital mutilation surgeries.

The West Virginia Congress passed a bill banning prescription drugs and surgical procedures for sex changes in children.

The bill passed the state House of Representatives on an 84-10 vote. It was subsequently approved in the Senate by 30-2. Now, it heads to Governor Jim Justice's desk for his signature.

West Virginia has one of the highest rates of trans kids

The bill would prohibit children under the age of 18 from receiving puberty blockers, hormone therapy and genital mutilation surgeries. However, there are exceptions to the rule. One is that children will be able to receive these medical interventions if they are at risk of suicide. However, in order for this to be considered, minors must have a diagnosis of severe gender dysphoria from at least two medical or mental health providers. If medication is allowed, they must receive the minimum dose, to "treat the psychiatric condition and not for purposes of gender alteration."

Medical providers who prescribe both diagnosis and interventions must also prove that they are qualified to do so, providing written evidence that interventions are necessary. In addition, written parental consent would be required for any procedure or medication.

According to a 2017 study by The Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law, West Virginia has one of the highest rates of children who identify as transgender of any state.

Age Trans Individuals Jan 2017 by Verónica Silveri

States that protect children

If Governor Justice signs the bill, West Virginia will join a growing number of states that legislated to limit sex change treatments for children for their protection. Some of these states are: Kentucky, Tennessee, South Dakota, Alabama, Arizona, Utah, Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Mississippi.