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Senate Bill Aims to Protect Nevada Doctors Who Provide Gender-Affirming Care 

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by Camalot Todd, Nevada Current
April 6, 2023

For Rev. Li Arinee, life started at 45, when he received gender-affirming care. 

He testified in front of the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor Wednesday during a hearing for a bill that would provide protections for health care providers and patients visiting Nevada to obtain gender-affirming health care. 

“Before then, I attempted to self-remove my breasts, before then I just wasn’t able to thrive in life,” said Arinee, who is at Unity Fellowship of Christ Movement Las Vegas. “In high school, had I been able to have my gender-affirming operations then, had I been able to identify as the handsome man that I am today, had I been able to just be me back in 1982, not telling my age, but life would have been totally different — I would have thrived and achieved more.” 

Senate Bill 302 would prohibit health care licensing boards from disqualifying or disciplining a provider who gave gender-affirming services and prohibit the governor from surrendering a person charged with a criminal violation in another state for receiving gender-affirming services in Nevada. Gender-affirming care is health care that treats the patient in alignment with their gender identity. It can include treatments like hormone therapy, breast reconstruction and speech therapy.

Idaho this week became the latest state to ban gender-affirming care. At least 13 states have bans on the books, including two other Nevada neighbors, Arizona and Utah.

“Nevada is poised to welcome providers and seekers of gender affirming care,” Silver State Equality State Director André Wade said at the hearing, highlighting that Nevada was ranked the best state for the LGBTQ+ community based on hate crimes, laws protecting the LGBTQ+ community and the LGBTQ+ population in the state, the most inclusive Equal Rights Amendment nationally, and the state being the first to remove discriminatory language in on marriage. 

“With nearly 400 anti-LGBTQ+ laws nationwide introduced at the state level – many targeting transgender people – Nevada, and bills like SB 302, stand as protections against efforts to eradicate transgender people from public life,” Wade said.

Two-thirds of  LGBTQ+ youth surveyed nationally said that the increase in state laws restricting the rights of transgender people negatively impacts their mental health, according to a 2022 Trevor Project poll. 

One study found that trans youth ages 13 to 20 who received gender-affirming care had 60% lower odds of moderate to severe depression and 73% lower odds of suicidality over a 12-month follow-up. 

Primary sponsors for the bill are Democratic state Sens. James Ohrenschall, Melanie Scheible, Pat Spearman, Dallas Harris and Edgar Flores. Democratic state Sens. Dina Neal,  Rochelle Nguyen and Julie Pazina are co-sponsors.

Nevada federally qualified health centers, the ACLU of Nevada, Nevada Equality Coalition and Silver State Equality were among those in support of the bill.

Those in opposition to the bill include Nevada Families for Freedom and the Nevada Republican Club.

The bill was heard, but no action was taken. The bill has until April 14 to advance out of committee.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: info@nevadacurrent.com. Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.