Social Scientists within the Consortium for Sexual and Gender Minority Health Call Anti-Trans Bill Introduced by Michigan House Republicans Horrifying, Cruel

October 27, 2022 - Emily Jodway

The month of October marks the 28th celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month, an important time of reflection on the achievements of the LGBTQ+ community as well as a reminder of the continued fight for rights that this group faces.

This fight becomes especially relevant more and more each day, with controversy emerging in the state of Michigan on October 11. During the annual celebration of National Coming Out Day, a group of Michigan House Republicans introduced Proposed House Bill 6454, a bill that would classify medical practices providing gender-affirming care to minors including hormone therapy or surgery, as child abuse. In addition, Michigan parents, guardians, and any medical and health professionals involved would be classified as child abusers, with penalties up to lifetime imprisonment; and any youth who have medically transitioned would be forced to return to the sex they were assigned at birth.

The Consortium for Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Health at Michigan State continues to operate at the forefront of research on the experiences of sexual and gender minoritized individuals and is dedicated to supporting the overall health and wellbeing of members of these communities. 

“Proposed House Bill 6454 would aim not only to strip parents of the right to make their own decisions in the best interests of their children, in consultation with medical professionals, it would even criminalize them for doing so,” said. Dr. Carla A. Pfeffer, Director of the Consortium for Sexual and Gender Minority Health. “Threatening parents and medical providers with lifetime imprisonment simply for doing their jobs and following best practices is a horrifying possibility here in Michigan, and deeply out of touch.”

The Consortium for SGM Health stood firm on this stance in a statement they released on October 14, calling the bill proposal “cruel, transphobic, and anti-science.” The group cited several statements from a number of national health organizations that support providing gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary youth, and evidence that this care is associated with a reduction in suicide, depression, and anxiety, and in improvement in mental health, among these groups. In regards to the bill proposer’s idea that these individuals are too young to be making life-changing decisions like this, the Consortium also cited research that shows regret associated with gender-affirming care given by medical professionals is extremely rare and that some of the treatments discussed in the bill are indeed reversible. 

“Following the evidence and science, it is important for us to stand against proposed legislation here in Michigan that would harm the health and well-being of transgender and nonbinary kids, their families, and those who are providing them with comprehensive health care,” Pfeffer added. 

The Consortium for SGM Health was created as a way for faculty, researchers, and graduate students to unite in their common effort of research focusing on sexual and gender minority health. Dr. Pfeffer and the Consortium aim to promote interdisciplinary health research through a social science lens. Research continues to reveal that gender minority patient health outcomes are directly affected by social factors such as transphobia, homophobia, and heterosexism, and the Consortium seeks to improve practices in the healthcare world with awareness of these social contexts in mind. 

“The work that the Consortium is doing is important because it touches so many lives,” Pfeffer said. “We continue to develop evidence-based strategies for promoting systemic change, social justice, and SGM wellness locally, nationally, and internationally.”

The group reiterates that this “attempt of politicians, without any medical training or expertise, to characterize support for medically necessary care as child abuse is dangerous, extremist, harmful to transgender and nonbinary youth, and anti-science as it ignores decades of empirical research evidence as well as the expertise of medical and health professionals.”

Read the full MSU Consortium Opposition to Michigan House Bill 6454 statement here.