By PAULA TRACY, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – A bill that would prohibit gender transition procedures for minors in New Hampshire along with other related bills brought more than 250 to the State House Tuesday with most saying that the bill is wrong and based on inaccurate information.
However, some said that the measure was needed to allow youths to grow out of feelings they may have that they want to have surgery to change their bodies.
House Bill 619-FN, sponsored by eight Republicans, was heard in Representatives Hall by the House Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee.
In the afternoon, the committee heard another bill “relative to protections related to receiving gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health services.”
This measure, House Bill 368-FN, would provide protections for persons receiving gender-affirming health care.
According to the committee’s researcher, Christina Dyer, there are currently six states that have passed legislation prohibiting gender transition procedures for minors and 21 states have introduced such legislation.
The House has had three bills introduced addressing conversion therapy. The first in 2016 died in committee but a similar bill passed in 2018. A bill proposed in 2022 sought to repeal the act but did not pass.
According to the Movement Advancement Project, as of January, 18 states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation prohibiting the use of conversion therapy – or the active effort to change a non-heterosexual person into heterosexual by psychoanalysis – while eight states, D.C. and Puerto Rico have enacted a full or partial ban on the practice.
There are estimates that about 4,000 residents of the state identify as transgender.
Opponents of House Bill 619 said the bill would deny rights, including those of parents, that it discriminates against a minority population and that it could possibly lead to suicide for youths, and would deny individuals access to practice medicine and help that is now available in the state.
Dr. Leonard Small, a retired pediatrician from Dover, said he had concerns about the “government practicing medicine” and that the bill is full of misleading information.
He added that if passed, it leads kids to a tremendous risk of suicide. Supporters of the bill were few with five of the 55 signed up to speak in favor.
Heather Mullens of Hillsborough County said she supported the bill. She said she got tattoos when she was younger and regretted that decision as an adult. Mullens said she was thankful that her decisions did not have such drastic consequences that might have prevented her from having children later in life.
Nancy Brennan spoke in opposition to the bill saying it was based on inaccurate information.
She said legislators need to respect and understand individuals who are facing a crisis in sexual identity.
“Look at them. Listen to them. Believe them. Support them,” she said.
James Marshall of Durham said the bill prevents parents from getting affirmative care for their children.