Purple State Proposes Protections For Doctors Performing Trans Surgeries On Minors
Close-up of gloved hands passing the surgical scissors, operating room, hospital.
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Nevada may become a safe haven for doctors who perform gender transition surgeries on minors, per proposed legislation. It would also extend protections to doctors charged with violating minor gender modification bans in other states.

The bill, Senate Bill 302 (SB302), would prevent healthcare licensing boards from disqualifying or disciplining doctors who perform gender transition surgeries on minors. It would also prohibit Nevada’s governor from surrendering or arresting doctors who are charged with violating gender modification laws in another state.

Another state, Minnesota, has recently passed similar “safe haven” legislation for doctors who provide gender transition procedures to minors.

SB302 is sponsored by Democrat State Sens. James Ohrenschall, Melanie Scheible, Pat Spearman, Dallas Harris, and Edgar Flores. The legislation also picked up three co-sponsors: Democrat Sens. Dina Neal, Rochelle Nguyen, and Julie Pazina.

Several of the sponsors and co-sponsors hold leadership positions within the Nevada legislature: Spearman is President Pro-Tempore, Scheible is Co-Majority Whip, and Harris is Chief Majority Whip.

The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee considered the bill on Wednesday, but has yet to take action on it. The committee has until April 14 to act on the bill.

During the hearing, Ohrenschall presented the bill. The senator claimed that gender-affirming services are “medically necessary” procedures, and that sex is assigned at birth. Ohrenschall criticized the 11 states that have restricted or banned gender transition procedures for minors: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, South Dakota, and West Virginia.


“I believe that this not only denies these individuals access to essential health care, but also subjects health care providers to the risk of losing their licenses, damaging their professional reputation, and facing legal sanctions,” stated Ohrenschall.

One doctor who provides gender transition surgeries to minors, John (Rob) Phoenix of the Huntridge Family Clinic, testified on behalf of the bill alongside Ohrenschall. Phoenix described himself as the leading provider of gender transition procedures to minors, which he’s done since 2015. Phoenix claimed that gender transitions were necessary to prevent deaths in gender-dysphoric youth.

“Gender affirmation, including social transitioning and gender affirming medical care are appropriate and beneficial for many gender minority youth,” said Phoenix.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Pat Spearman, who chairs the committee, rejected the notion that gender dysphoria is a mental disorder.

Spearman seemed to conflate the concepts of transgenderism and homosexuality; she claimed that the 1973 removal of homosexuality from the pages of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the standard for defining and diagnosing mental illnesses, proved that gender dysphoria wasn’t a mental disorder. However, the DSM maintains gender dysphoria as a mental disorder.

“The Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders [sic] removed homosexuality in 1973, so it’s not a mental disorder,” said Spearman.

Spearman further cited the Library of Medicine’s claim that gender dysphoria is a “neuroanatomical link” that exists naturally within the brain.

“[Gender dysphoria] is not something in people’s minds,” said Spearman. “I just want to put that on the record because I think science is important. And I’m not allergic to it.”

Republican Sen. Jeff Stone, Co-Minority Whip, pushed back against the legislation. Stone argued that only those over 18 years old should be able to receive gender transition treatment — not minors.

Stone testified that one of his friend’s daughters received gender transition procedures as a minor and regretted it.

“We know that not every child that has sexual dysphoria maintains that identity as they progress through puberty,” said Stone.

In response, Ohrenschall repeated that gender transition decisions should remain between the child, their family, and the doctor.

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