Idaho Trans Bill Makes it Illegal to Take Teens Out of State for Treatment

The Idaho House of Representatives on Tuesday approved legislation that makes it illegal for transgender children to travel outside of the state to receive gender-related treatment.

The HB675 bill would make it a crime, punishable by life in prison, not only to provide the trans-related gender treatment, but to provide permission for a minor to receive it, or to permit a minor to travel out of state to receive it. An advocacy group said it was one of hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ bills under consideration by state legislators across the U.S.

If HB675 is enacted, it will be considered a felony to provide gender care to transgender youth, including hormones.

A near-party-line vote saw the Republicans win 55-13. The House's only physician, Dr. Fred Wood (R-Burley), was the only Republican to join the 12 Democrats and vote against the bill.

The bill now moves to the state senate. If it is voted through, Republican Governor Brad Little's office could make it into law or veto it.

The passing of the bill followed a heated debate in the Idaho Senate on Tuesday.

Rep. Bruce Skaug (R-Nampa) brought forward the bill. He told the House: "We need to stop sterilizing and mutilating children under the age of 18." He added that the bill would "protect" boys and girls from having their birth sex changed.

Rep. Lauren Necochea (D-Boise), struggling to hold back tears, when she weighed in on the debate.

"Our transgender youth are so incredibly courageous, and I know how stressful it has been for transgender youth and their families as they've watched this bill move through this body," she said.

"An Idaho doctor has had to assist three transgender youth related to their suicide attempts since this bill has been introduced. We need to trust those parents and providers to make these deeply personal decisions," Necochea added.

The legislation is one of more than 300 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that are under consideration by state legislators across the U.S., according to a Human Rights Campaign statement issued after the bill was approved by the house.

"It is so disappointing that some politicians in Boise have decided to follow Texas and Alabama down the path of imposing felony criminal penalties upon doctors who are simply doing their jobs.

"By making it impossible for doctors to provide care for their patients, transgender youth are denied the age-appropriate, best practice, medically-necessary, gender-affirming care that a new study just found reduces the risk of moderate or severe depression by 60 percent and suicidal thoughts by 73 percent," said Human Rights Campaign state legislative director and senior counsel Cathryn Oakley in a statement.

"Every kid in Idaho deserves the chance to grow up feeling safe and respected for who they are. Denying someone medically-necessary health care simply because you don't approve of who they are is textbook discrimination.

"Decisions about what kind of care is appropriate for young people should be left up to the young person and their parents, in consultation with health care professionals, not by politicians looking to score political points at the expense of the well-being of transgender youth."

Meanwhile, the Florida Senate on Tuesday passed the "Don't Say Gay or Trans" bill (HB1557), which now heads to Governor Ron DeSantis' desk for signature or veto.

If approved, the bill would prevent teachers from talking about LGBTQ+ issues or people in the classroom. The bill would also undermine existing protections for LGBTQ+ students.

According to the Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) at the University of North Florida, 49 percent of Floridians oppose the legislation while 40 percent support it.

More than 290 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced across 33 states in 2021, including more than 140 specifically anti-transgender bills.

Transgender rights protest
The Idaho House of Representatives on Tuesday approved legislation that makes it illegal to transgender children to travel outside of the state to receive gender-related treatment. The photos shows a rally outside the Stonewall Inn, a landmark of the gay rights movement, on February 23, 2017 in the Greenwich Village area of New York City, demanding to maintain protection for transgender and gender non-conforming people. Kena Betancur/Getty