Bill Criminalizing Child Sex Changes In Wyoming Squeaks Through Senate Committee

A proposed Wyoming law criminalizing transgender-related treatments for minors narrowly survived its first legislative committee vote Friday, passing on a 3-2 vote. 

Clair McFarland

January 27, 20235 min read

Senate education Charlie Scott 1 1 27 23
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

By Clair McFarland, General Assignment Reporter

A proposed Wyoming law criminalizing transgender-related treatments for minors narrowly survived its first legislative committee vote Friday, passing on a 3-2 vote. 

Senate File 111 would make any person who treats or administers transgender-related drugs, surgeries or other treatments to minors subject to be prosecuted for felony child abuse. The charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.   

The bill’s proponents say it will prevent children from undergoing life-altering treatments that they could come to regret, and it would help hold back a modern tide of confusion around gender.   

Conversely, the bill’s opponents said it could prevent doctors from administering life-saving treatments to gender dysphoric youth and could scare doctors out of Wyoming.  

State Sens. Eric Barlow, left, and Fred Baldwin were the two “no” votes on Senate File 111 in committee Friday. (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

Nay Votes  

State Sens. Eric Barlow, R-Gillette, and Committee Chair Fred Baldwin, R-Kemmerer, were the two members of the Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee members who voted against the bill.   

Barlow said he dislikes SF 111 because it doesn’t define the proposed criminal intent of trying to change a child’s sex, and likely would do nothing to curb child transgender treatments because none of those treatments actually change a child’s chromosomal sex structure.   

Baldwin said he voted against the bill because it pits legislative opinion against the established expertise of the medical industry and could impinge on the doctor-patient relationship.   

Aye Votes  

Voting in favor of the bill were Republican Sens. Anthony Bouchard (Cheyenne), Lynn Hutchings (Cheyenne) and Dan Dockstader (Afton).   

Bouchard and Hutchings sparred with commenters who rebuked the bill.   

Dr. Rebecca Franklin, an obstetrician/gynecologist who has worked in Sheridan for 10 years, opposed the bill, saying Wyoming professionals don’t perform transgender-related surgeries on minors. 

She also said surgery is an extreme step that doctors counsel patients about before taking.   

Hutchings responded that, with or without pre-surgery counseling, sex-change surgeries are irreversible.   

“What can bring those (sex organs back) when they after (age) 18 decide, ‘Whoops, I didn’t want that done’?” Hutchings asked. “Help me understand. Mutilating children: how do we put them back together – Humpty Dumpty – once they’ve taken the fall?”  

Franklin countered, saying those surgeries on minors do not happen in Wyoming. She said the most common form of “genital mutilation” in the state is circumcision.   

“Probably many of those (circumcision) victims are sitting in the room today,” said Franklin.  

The bill has exemptions for intersex-related treatments and would not criminalize circumcisions.   

Species Changes?  

Steve Melia, a Cheyenne resident, testified in favor of the bill, describing transgenderism as a slippery slope that could lead to normalizing cross-species ideation and body integrity identity disorder, in which a patient desires strongly to have a limb amputated.   


Andrew Rose, a pediatrician for the Cheyenne Children’s Clinic and president of the Wyoming Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics, testified against the bill. He said gender identity treatments should be decided within families, not courts.   

Transgender youth “don’t seek this out,” said Rose. “They identify in a way that society tells them they shouldn’t, and of course that makes (mental) dissonance.”   

Rose said gender-dysphoric teens are an at-risk group for suicide.    

Like Franklin, Rose said doctors don’t do transgender surgeries on kids in Wyoming. Rose also said no one is doing “irreversible therapies” on kids in the state.   

Again, Hutchings disagreed, arguing that hormone therapy has been found to have irreversible consequences as well.   

Rose said puberty blockers lack very long-term studies but have been used to combat precocious puberty for years.   

“Those are the ones that might be used to allow these children and teenagers a little more time to go through social transition and make sure this is the right decision for them,” said Rose. “We’re not doing estrogen, testosterone therapies, things like that.”   

Preying On Kids?  

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Charlie Scott, R-Casper, said that gender dysphoria has gained traction as a fad among teens, encouraged by counselors and other professionals.   

“People are preying on young adolescents that are having that kind of confusion, and persuading them the way to solve it is to get their sex changed,” said Scott. 

He said gender dysphoric children likely would grow out of that confusion if not subjected to treatment, a tenet Bouchard reflected on later by citing studies to that effect.   

Jennifer Mumaugh, a licensed professional counselor in Cheyenne, disputed Scott in her own testimony, saying she and other professionals don’t prey upon children.   

“Gender-affirming care is a medically necessary care and it’s life-saving for transgender youth,” she said, citing her affiliation with large medical organizations that dictate transgender-related treatments as the standard of care.   

Mumaugh said the threat of children coming to regret their treatments and detransition, or revert back to living as their biological sex, has been “generally overemphasized” by legislators.   

SF 111 now is being considered in the Senate. It will have to pass both the Senate and House of Representatives to become law. 

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Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter