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‘Chloe’s Law’ becomes law July 1


By Joseph Beaudet
The Sheridan Press
Via- Wyoming News Exchange

SHERIDAN — Starting July 1, gender-affirming care for minors will be banned in Wyoming.

Governor Mark Gordon speaks during a ceremony March 2, 2023 in Capitol Building. The Governor signed 8 bills into law Thursday including a property tax refund bill HB099 . Photo by Michael Smith

While signing the bill, Gov. Mark Gordon was critical because the bill may contradict other bills passed by the Legislature to enhance parental rights in education.

“I signed SF99 because I support the protections this bill includes for children, however it is my belief that the government is straying into the personal affairs of families,” Gordon said in a statement. “Our legislature needs to sort out its intentions with regard to parental rights. While it inserts governmental prerogative in some places, it affirms parental rights in others.”

Dr. Michael Sanderson, a local pediatrician and Wyoming chapter president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said the ban will present a challenge to Wyoming families, albeit a small number.

“There is a very small number of minor patients in Wyoming (whose) families will be forced to either move out of state to continue their treatment or to drive to Colorado on a regular basis to both see their prescribing physician and get their prescriptions from an out of state pharmacy,” Sanderson said in an email to The Sheridan Press.

Sanderson also said there are no gender-affirming surgeries occurring in Wyoming and “the standard of care from the reputable professional physician societies was to NOT offer these surgeries to minors,” so the number of those surgeries will remain unchanged.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming was critical of the bill becoming law and had remained opposed throughout the legislative process. ACLU of Wyoming said in a statement the bill “undermines the fundamental rights of parents,” and violates constitutional rights to equal protection and due process.

“By signing this bill into law, Gov. Gordon has put the government in charge of making vital decisions traditionally reserved for parents in Wyoming. This ban won’t stop Wyomingites from being trans, but it will deny them critical support that helps struggling transgender youth grow up to become thriving transgender adults,” Libby Skarin, acting executive director for the ACLU of Wyoming, said in a statement released shortly after Gordon signed the bill.

According to The Trevor Project 2023 national survey on the mental health of LGBTQ+ young people, trans and nonbinary people are less likely to attempt or consider suicide when they have access to gender-affirming care and environments.

When asked whether Sheridan Memorial Hospital offers gender-affirming care to its patients, CEO Mike McCafferty said the hospital does not perform gender-affirming surgery. McCafferty said the bill becoming law wouldn’t change the way SMH takes care of its patients and the relationships between patients and physicians.

Sanderson’s clinic does not expressly treat gender dysphoria — when someone feels their body does not align with their gender — because the physicians do not have the necessary expertise, he said.

“The treatment of gender dysphoria is quite specialized and neither I nor my partners feel we have the expertise or experience to initiate care such as puberty blockers or hormone replacement therapy, and so at this point when we are approached by families interested in this care, we have referred these families to treatment centers,” Sanderson said. “It goes without saying that we do NOT recommend to patients or refer patients out to receive surgical treatment for gender dysphoria.”

A clinic in Casper, a roughly two-hour drive from Sheridan, offers gender-affirming care to its patients.

A provision in the bill went into effect immediately after Gordon signed it; the provision requires the Department of Health, State Board of Medicine and State Board of Pharmacy to establish rules to implement the law. The remaining provisions of the bill will go into effect July 1.

Wyoming will be the 24th state to have a ban on gender-affirming care for minors on its books. Court injunctions in Florida, Idaho and Montana have blocked those states’ bans for the time being. A federal court struck down a ban in Arkansas, saying it was unconstitutional. Lawsuits are currently in progress in 12 other states.

Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, sponsored Senate File 99 because of Chloe Cole’s story. Cole is an activist from California who lived as a transgender boy for several years before detransitioning. Cole visited the Wyoming Capitol during the 2024 budget session, testifying in support of the bill and urging lawmakers to act quickly on the bill.

The bill hit Gordon’s desk in the closing days of the session and he signed it into law March 22. The bill bans gender-affirming surgeries and prescribed hormone therapy. 

The bill includes protection of mental health treatment as long as that treatment does not include hormone therapy.


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