Transgender Law Center, the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people, today released the following statement urging the Pennsylvania legislature to reject a bill targeting transgender youth and pass a clean reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

“Our legislators shouldn’t be playing politics with children’s health,” said Kris Hayashi, executive director of Transgender Law Center. “Transgender youth already face intense harassment and violence, and it is shameful for Pennsylvania’s elected officials to abuse their positions to further single out transgender youth for discrimination. Decisions about children’s healthcare should be made by families, young people, and doctors – not by politicians.”

The Children’s Health Insurance Program provides health insurance to 176,000 children in Pennsylvania, where the program has historically had strong bipartisan support. This year, instead of moving forward with a clean unanimous reauthorization as in the past, Sen. Donald White pushed through an amendment to exclude transgender youth’s medical needs in the use of CHIP funds. A second amendment passed on the Senate floor narrows the exclusion to transition-related surgeries.

The discriminatory legislation has returned to the House for concurrence, but time remains in the session for the General Assembly to work on a clean bill. Pennsylvania must reauthorize CHIP by the end of this year for the benefits to continue into 2018.

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Transgender Law Center (TLC) is the largest national trans-led organization advocating self-determination for all people. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender non-conforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.