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Bill on transgender teens unveiled in Utah legislature

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Posted at 12:11 PM, Feb 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-29 14:11:39-05

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill dealing with transgender teens has been unveiled in the Utah State Legislature.

However, where LGBTQ rights groups were bracing for an all-out ban on transgender teenagers accessing hormone therapies, House Bill 449 only seeks a study.

"It’s a much better bill in terms of not trying to restrict people’s access," said Candice Metzler, the director of Transgender Education Advocates of Utah.

But Metzler said her group did not support the bill in its current form and believed there is already government funded and peer-reviewed research on the subject.

HB449 would "conduct a review of any available scientific research related to the administration of a gonadotropin releasing hormone agent to a minor for the purpose of facilitating the minor's desire to present or appear in a manner that is inconsistent with the minor's sex, and any side effects of that use." It asks for an updates on efforts to initiate a study to the Utah State Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee by November.

"In my work on this topic I have grown concerned about the side effects, both short and long term of some of the drugs used to block puberty. I believe that having the state take a closer at this is worth doing," the bill's sponsor, Rep. Brad Daw, R-Orem, said in a text message to FOX 13.

Metzler said she had concerns about language in the bill stating "inconsistent with the minor's sex."

"Sex is not what people identify with," said Metzler. "I just think part of the problem is the language further complicates things and it does leave questions about what the purpose of the study is."

The bill was made public on Saturday. Another bill being contemplated in the Utah State Legislature would deal with transgender athletes. Rep. Adam Robertson, R-Provo, told FOX 13 last month he was considering a statewide policy on athletes and gender.