Mississippi enacts ban on gender-affirming care for minors

Published 3:01 pm Tuesday, February 28, 2023

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill Tuesday to ban gender-affirming care in the state for anyone younger than 18, part of a broad effort in conservative states to restrict transgender athletes, gender-affirming care and drag shows.

The new Mississippi law took effect immediately. Reeves signed a law in 2021 to ban transgender athletes from competing in girls’ or women’s sports.

The Republican governor of Utah recently signed a ban on gender-affirming care into law, and judges have temporarily blocked similar laws in Arkansas and Alabama. In Arkansas last week, the state Senate approved legislation that tries to effectively reinstate that state’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors by making it easier to sue providers of such medical care.

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Reeves is seeking reelection this year, and he signed the Mississippi bill into law less than two weeks after transgender teenagers, their families and others who support them protested against the measure.

Across the U.S. this year, at least 150 bills targeting transgender people have been introduced, which is the highest in a single year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Rob Hill, state director of Human Rights Campaign Mississippi, denounced the legislation.

“Politicians who don’t have an ounce of medical training are interfering with our rights as parents and acting as if they know how to raise and support our children better than we do,” Hill said in a statement last week. “Attacking LGBTQ+ Mississippians will not solve any problems or make life easier for working folks in this state. The only thing it will accomplish is to further demonize and alienate transgender kids who are already among our most vulnerable students.”