Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves signed a bill on February 28 to ban gender-affirming hormones or surgery in the State for anyone younger than 18, part of a broad effort in conservative States to restrict transgender athletes, gender-affirming care and drag shows.
Mr. Reeves, who is running for reelection this year, said “radical activists” are telling children they are in the wrong bodies and are “just a surgery away from happiness”.
“This is truly scary stuff that's being pushed upon our kids and, yes, their loving parents," Mr. Reeves said. “They're being taken advantage of, all so some can push their warped view on gender or appear to be ‘woke' for their friends.”
The new Mississippi law took effect immediately. In 2021, Mr. Reeves signed a law to ban transgender athletes from competing in girls’ or women’s sports teams.
The Republican governors of South Dakota and Utah have signed bans on gender-affirming care this year, and the Republican governor of Tennessee is expected to do so. Judges have temporarily blocked similar laws in Arkansas and Alabama.
Mr. Reeves signed the Mississippi bill into law less than two weeks after transgender teenagers, their families and others who support them protested against the measure.
Across the U.S. this year, at least 150 bills targeting transgender people have been introduced, which is the highest in a single year, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Mickie Stratos — who is president of The Spectrum Center of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which provides health services and advocacy for LGBTQ people — said Mr. Reeves’ decision to sign the bill “is an act of violence”.
“He and the lawmakers who pushed this bill in Mississippi are willfully ignoring the unique needs of transgender young people, interfering with their medical care and sending a stigmatising, exclusionary message," Stratos said in a statement on Tuesday.