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Last week in LGBTQ+ rights: Nebraska restricts gender-affirming care

The Biden White House has condemned social media harassment of a Department of the Interior staffer.

By Will Fritz - October 10, 2023
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Mae Keller, a senior, carries a
Mae Keller, a senior, carries a "Trans Kids Matter" sign and cheers as hundreds of students walk out of school on Transgender Day of Visibility outside Omaha Central High School on March 31, 2023, in Omaha, Neb. (Anna Reed/Omaha World-Herald via AP, File)

This series is a weekly roundup of LGBTQ-related news, covering various laws and bans, as well as efforts to push back against them.

Nebraska gender-affirming care restrictions go into effect

Nebraska’s ban on gender-affirming surgeries for anyone under the age of 19 went into effect on Oct. 1, and the state’s Department of Health and Human Services announced restrictive new rules for youth seeking other forms of gender-affirming care.

Nebraska is now one of only two states to enact a ban on gender-affirming surgeries for individuals under the age of 19, the other being Alabama, which bans all care, not just surgeries.

The 20 other states with gender-affirming care bans all make surgeries illegal for individuals under 18. Such surgeries are exceedingly rare for minors, however. A partnership between Reuters and Komodo Health Inc. found a total of 56 genital surgeries on individuals between the ages of 13 and 17 from 2019 to 2021. Approximately 300,000 people between 13 and 17 identified as transgender in 2022, according to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles Law School.

The rules implemented this month by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services regulate how trans youth can access nonsurgical care such as puberty blockers and hormone treatments.

The rules include a requirement that they must undergo 40 hours of “gender-identity-focused” and “clinically neutral” therapy and receive at least one hour of therapy every three months once treatment begins, according to the Associated Press. They also mandate a seven-day waiting period before gender-affirming medications can be administered and require parental consent.

The department described the new rules as emergency regulations that will continue to be implemented while it takes public comment on permanent regulations. According to the AP, the department said it hopes to release proposed final rules by Oct. 31 and hold a public hearing on Nov. 28.

The AP reported that the health department’s announcement that its “emergency” regulations had been approved by Republican Gov. Jim Pillen came after families, doctors and legislators said they had heard nothing from the department about when those regulations would be put together.

White House condemns social media harassment of Interior Department spokesperson

The White House has condemned online harassment against a spokesperson for the Department of the Interior by the creator of a popular right-wing social media account.

Chaya Raichik, the individual behind Libs of TikTok accounts on various platforms, wrote a post on X (formerly known as Twitter) that simply said, “This is the Communications Director for the Secretary of the Interior,” with an image of the staffer, Tyler Cherry, who is openly gay.

Raichik, who appeared to be commenting on Cherry’s appearance, then made additional posts about him, including one that included an image of his wedding published by the New York Times, and referred to him as among the “total weirdos” she alleges the administration has hired.

From her Libs of TikTok account on X, she also included Cherry in a photo collage with the caption “Is this the ‘return to normalcy’ we keep hearing about from the Biden admin?” The collage also includes an image of Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine of the Department of Health and Human Services, one of the first openly transgender officials in the U.S. government.

In a statement obtained by the LGBTQ+ news site the Advocate, a White House spokesperson said: “No one should be targeted simply for being themselves. It is cruel and unacceptable. This is an administration that believes to our core in the principle that out of many we are one — and we are proud that the people who serve in it reflect those values as well. Tyler is an invaluable member of our team who continues to deliver for the Department of Interior and the American people.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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