JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A bill that would ban transgender treatment for anyone under the age of 18 passed the Mississippi Senate on Tuesday.
Senators passed House Bill 1125, also known as the REAP Act, with a 33-15 vote. The bill was passed the House 78-30 on January 19.
The proposal bans gender-affirming hormone therapy and puberty blockers for any trans person 17 and younger.
Advocates denounced the bill on Tuesday.
“Politicians who don’t have an ounce of medical training are interfering with our rights as parents and acting as if they know how to raise and support our children better than we do. Attacking LGBTQ+ Mississippians will not solve any problems or make life easier for working folks in this state. The only thing it will accomplish is to further demonize and alienate transgender kids who are already among our most vulnerable students. Mississippi deserves better,” said Rob Hill, the state director of the Human Rights Campaign Mississippi.
Republican Sen. Joey Fillingane of Sumrall said during the Senate debate that he has received questions “about how we’re telling people what they can and can’t do with their bodies.”
“I just want everyone to be very crystal clear: Once you’re 18 if this bill becomes law … this bill would recognize you can have any procedure on your body you want to,” Fillingane said. “So what we’re really talking about here are these procedures for persons 17 years of age and under.”
The Senate rejected an amendment by Democratic Sen. Rod Hickman of Macon, which specified that mental health care would remain available for transgender people younger than 18. Fillingane said the bill would not prohibit such care.
Hickman said transgender people have “elevated” rates of suicide.
“This is not because they have gone through particular surgeries or procedures,” Hickman said. “This is because they live in a society that has continually rejected them.”
Hickman said the bill “furthers the narrative that these individuals are not human beings deserving of the same rights that we all have.”
The bill now heads to the desk of Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.). If the governor signs the bill, it would take effect immediately. In 2021, Reeves signed a law to ban transgender athletes from competing in girls’ or women’s sports.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi (ACLU of Mississippi) sent a letter Reeves urging him to veto HB 1125.
Reeves said he plans to sign the bill.
“Sterilizing and castrating children in the name of new gender ideology is wrong,” Reeves wrote on Twitter. “That plain truth is somehow controversial in today’s world.”
Reeves signed a law in 2021 to ban transgender athletes from competing in girls’ or women’s sports.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.