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Semafor LogoKadia Goba
Kadia Goba
politicsNorth America

Why you should pay attention to Marjorie Taylor Greene's transgender care bill

Kadia is a Political Reporter for Semafor, joining us from Buzzfeed News. Sign up for the daily Principals newsletter to get our insider’s guide to American power.

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Title iconThe News
Marjorie Taylor Greene waves with American flags in the background
GAELEN MORSE/Reuters

Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. introduced the Protect Children’s Innocence Act last month, which would restrict gender-affirming care, including puberty blockers and hormone therapies, for individuals under 18 years old.

“It's not about anyone's chosen sexuality or what adults choose to do with their bodies,” Greene told Semafor. “It's just about protecting kids and letting them grow up before they make permanent changes.”

Under Greene’s bill, anyone caught performing a list of targeted procedures could be charged with a Class C felony. The bill would also prohibit individuals from using federal funds to pay for gender-affirming care and revoke accreditation for higher education institutions that teach gender-affirming care.

The proposal currently has 46 co-sponsors, all Republican. Democrats, I’m told, haven't publicly responded to Greene’s bill for fear of boosting it.

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undefined headshotKadia's view

Greene’s not usually known for her legislation, but her bill tracks closely with similar Republican proposals at the state level, making it worth watching.

In states like Arizona, Tennessee, Texas, Florida, and Alabama, governors have either signed bills or taken executive action to restrict gender-affirming care for minors. In Arkansas, the legislature overrode a veto by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to pass a ban.

Conservative activists and media have fanned the flames around a variety of topics related to transgender youth this cycle, including health care, sports, and education, amid a national rise in self-identified transgender students. Should Republicans win a majority, they’ll face pressure from their base to act on these issues.

That doesn’t mean Greene’s bill would be the one that advances. Right now leadership has not promoted it and it has little support outside the House GOP’s right flank. That may have more to do with Greene’s reputation as an extremist among her colleagues than it does with the particulars of the bill, however.

“I would be on the bill if it were anyone else’s bill,” a more centrist Republican member told Semafor. “But it’s her, and well, hard pass.”

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Title iconRoom for Disagreement

Rep. Marie Newman D-Ill., who has a transgender daughter, said Democrats are focused on securing the House majority “to keep very ugly, ineffective and hateful legislation off the House floor and the Senate floor.”

Newman and Greene have neighboring congressional offices. The two made news last year after posting dueling Twitter videos. First Newman shared footage of her placing a transgender flag outside of her office door to protest Greene trying to delay a vote on the Equality Act. Greene responded by posting a sign outside of her door that read, “There are TWO genders: Male & Female. Trust The Science.”

Title iconThe View From the U.K.

Transgender health care has been a major debate across Europe among policymakers — as well as a rallying cry for politicians on the right.

In England, the National Health Service has been reviewing and reorganizing its youth treatment programs in response to reported concerns ranging from long wait times to inconsistent care. In June, it announced plans to close the state’s only dedicated hub for youth gender care and replace it with a system of regional clinics.

Title iconNotable
  • Reuters published a special report this month on the emerging medical field treating transgender youth, where families often have to make difficult choices about options like puberty blockers and sex hormones versus the impact of puberty without large-scale studies or FDA approval to help guide them.
  • In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbot ordered child abuse investigations of parents who sought gender-affirming care for their children. This led to a heartbreaking choice for a transgender child protective services agent, profiled by the Washington Post, who became tasked with investigating families grappling with gender identity issues.
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