‘Maybe the cruelty is the point’: NC lawmakers ban gender-affirming care for transgender minors following tense floor debate

By: - June 29, 2023 6:00 am
Rep. Allison Dahle speaking on the House floor

Rep. Allison Dahle (D-Wake) urges her colleagues to reject the ban on gender-affirming care. (Photo: Screen grab from NCGA video)

“What we’re saying is go ahead, kill yourself, go ahead, end it, because you don’t match our values.”

An emotional Rep. Allison Dahle (D-Wake) implored House Republicans on Wednesday to reject House Bill 808, banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth, even with parental consent.

Dahle, one of a handful of LGBTQ members in the North Carolina General Assembly, said transgender children and their parents don’t need the negative attention this debate has brought and are genuinely scared.

“If you don’t agree with it, that’s your choice as a parent. But you cannot take that choice away from other parents,” stressed Dahle.

Rep. Dahle said based on her own research, the number of surgeries done in the United States are very few, and never the first option.

“This is about you controlling parents’ choice because you don’t agree with it or you don’t feel good about it,” Dahle continued.

Equality NC reiterated Wednesday that denying best-practice medical care and support to transgender youth can contribute to depression, social isolation, and the risk of self-harm.

Republican Rep. Ken Fontenot called such care “radical, dangerous experiments” often ending in regret.

The Wilson County pastor said it was their duty to protect the most vulnerable from “medical blunders.”

The bill stipulates doctors who disobey the legislation could lose their license to practice.

Rep. John Autry argued the legislature has no purpose getting between medical professionals and their patients.

“Using children as a political football simply to enrage your voters is despicable and
beneath the North Carolina General Assembly,” said the Mecklenburg County Democrat.

Autry said his transgender granddaughter turned 21 this week.

She needed the care conservative lawmakers are seeking to ban for minors.

Rep. John Autry reads from a note left on his office voicemail. (Photo: NCGA video)

“This care was measured and followed, and parents were involved, therapists were involved, doctors were involved, endocrinologists were involved,” he shared.

“It’s not just go to the vending machine and help me with these hormones, not at all, folks. If this care had not been available when she needed it, I fear that she may not be here today.”

The last time Rep. Autry spoke against the legislation, he received a late night voicemail message on his office phone.

“It said, ‘Cry more, groomer.'” Autry read from the note.

“How despicable and low do you have to be to say that to someone who is speaking in
defense of their grandchild? Maybe the cruelty is the point.”

On a party line vote, House members passed HB 808 (67-46) sending the bill to the governor’s desk.

If the bill becomes law, litigation is a virtual certainty. A federal court in Arkansas became the latest to strike down such a law as unconstitutional on June 20 when it invalidated that state’s recently enacted statute.

Click here to see how individual representatives voted.

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Clayton Henkel
Clayton Henkel

Communications Coordinator Clayton Henkel manages the NC Newsline website and daily newsletter, while also producing daily audio commentaries and the weekly News and Views radio program/podcast.