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Reports on Wyoming State Government Activity

Gender-affirming care ban proceeds to the House after sweeping Senate approval

A snowy winter day outside the Wyoming State Capitol building on Feb. 12, 2024.
Chris Clements
Wyoming Public Radio
A snowy winter day outside the Wyoming State Capitol building on Feb. 12, 2024.

A ban on most gender-affirming care for minors could come to Wyoming out of this year’s legislative session.

It follows a similar bill that died in the House of Representatives after it failed to be introduced during this year’s session.

That bill would have only banned gender-affirming surgeries in Wyoming for minors under the age of 18. It didn’t outline punishments for physicians, and didn’t outlaw other forms of gender-affirming care like hormone blockers.

“Chloe’s Law” goes further by including both of those points in the bill text.

Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Cheyenne) is the sponsor of the legislation. He said he takes issue with the chorus of medical associations and published research that say gender-affirming care can help trans kids with feelings of depression and suicide, as well as self-harming behaviors.

Sen. Anthony Bouchard, a Republican from Cheyenne.
Legislature of the State of Wyoming
Sen. Anthony Bouchard, a Republican from Cheyenne.

“They're saying that this is a proper medical procedure,” said Bouchard. “I disagree with them. I don't think it is. This is Frankenstein medicine.”

Sara Burlingame is the executive director of Wyoming Equality, a nonprofit organization that advocates for LGBTQ+ residents in the state.

“I'm talking to these families about what it's like to hear these very heavy, careful, nuanced conversations be reduced to, you know, they’re bad parents, bad people,” said Burlingame. “It takes a heavy toll.”

She said that the kind of rhetoric espoused from lawmakers like Bouchard about trans youth and their families can inflict serious harm.

“We are awash in language that suggests that people who are seeking the best medical care for their children are actually deviants, and bad people,” Burlingame said.

Bouchard said he anticipates that his ban could run into trouble when it reaches the House.

“I think we have a lot of Republicans that probably need to be in the Democrat party,” he said.

By a vote of 26 to 5, “Chloe’s Law” made it through a third reading in the Senate with extensive approval. It will now move to the House and will need to pass three readings before it would be sent to the Governor’s desk.

This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, supporting state government coverage in the state. Wyoming Public Media and Jackson Hole Community Radio are partnering to cover state issues both on air and online.

Chris Clements is a state government reporter and digital media specialist for Wyoming Public Media based in Laramie. He came to WPM from KSJD Radio in Cortez, Colorado, where he reported on Indigenous affairs, drought, and local politics in the Four Corners region. Before that, he graduated with a degree in English (Creative Writing) from Arizona State University. Chris's news stories have been featured on KUNC, NPR newscasts, and National Native News, among others.
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