A photo of a doctor holding a stethoscope, crossing their arms.

More than 380 health care providers across WV sign letter opposing House Bill 5297

CHARLESTON, West Virginia — More than 380 health care providers across West Virginia have signed on to a joint letter opposing House Bill 5297, a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for adolescents.

Fairness West Virginia began organizing the letter Saturday afternoon, and 300 providers signed on in less than 48 hours.

“Health care providers all across West Virginia realize how dangerous this bill is, and they are speaking up to protect transgender adolescents,” said Jack Jarvis, Communications Director for Fairness West Virginia. “Frankly, I’ve never seen this level of support come together so quickly. Doctors understand that this care is safe and reversible, but losing your child to suicide isn’t.”

A copy of the letter can be viewed here. The letter is still open for additional signatures, and health care providers can visit this link to sign on.

State lawmakers adopted a bill last year that bans gender-affirming care for adolescents, but that law left open a very narrow exception for transgender youth who experience severe gender dysphoria and are at immediate risk of suicide without this care.

“Up to two percent of adolescents in the United States identify as transgender, and in any given year a third of them may attempt suicide,” the letter reads. “Research has shown that transgender youth who access gender-affirming hormone therapy have 73 percent lower odds of considering suicide. Gender-affirming hormone therapy for transgender adolescents is evidence and guideline-based care recommended by every major medical organization. In many cases, this care can be life-saving.”

The parents of a transgender youth should have the ability to get their child the prescribed medication they need. This decision should rest with parents and doctors—not politicians.

“This is the most extreme political attack on transgender Mountaineers in recent memory,” said Isabella Cortez, Gender Policy Manager for Fairness West Virginia. “Not only does it ban medically necessary, lifesaving care for transgender youth, but it also prevents parents from getting their child the medical care they need—care that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and other leading medical authorities have said is essential for some youth.”

 

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Please direct questions and interview requests to Jack Jarvis, Communications Director, at 304-250-9320 or jack@fairnesswv.org

Fairness West Virginia is the statewide civil rights advocacy organization dedicated to fair treatment and civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer West Virginians. Our mission is to ensure LGBTQ+ people can be open, honest and safe at home, at work, and in the community. We are open to everyone who believes in fundamental fairness.