Ban On Trans Treatments For Kids In Wyoming Close To Becoming Law

A bill that would prohibit doctors from performing gender transitioning treatments on minors in Wyoming is close to becoming law. Sen. Anthony Bouchard's legislation passed a House committee on Monday and is all but certain to pass the House.

Leo Wolfson

March 05, 20246 min read

The House Judiciary Committee hears testimony about Senate File 99, legislation formerly known as Chloe's Law.
The House Judiciary Committee hears testimony about Senate File 99, legislation formerly known as Chloe's Law. (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

A bill inspired by a California activist who regretted gender transitioning remains alive in the Wyoming Legislature, but is no longer named in her honor.

The House Judiciary Committee advanced Senate File 99 by a 7-2 vote Monday, a bill that prohibits doctors from performing gender transition treatments on minors in Wyoming in most scenarios.

SF 99, originally called Chloe’s Law, was named after Chloe Cole, a woman who started receiving gender transition treatments early on in her teen years before detransitioning back about a year later. She testified in favor of SF 99 earlier this month.

State Rep. Ember Oakley, R-Riverton, successfully brought the amendment to remove SF 99 of its original title in favor of Children Gender Change Prohibition.

“We are here in the Wyoming House and we make policy for Wyoming people,” Oakley said. “This didn’t happen in Wyoming and I believe that we need to pass a bill that reflects Wyoming.”

Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, is the lead sponsor of SF 99. He started the hearing off referring to transgender treatments on minors as “cultural Marxism,” “child trafficking into the medical system” and child abuse.

Multiple members of the medical community responded in testimony to the committee that they found Bouchard’s comments offensive.

Bouchard told Cowboy State Daily he didn’t view the change in name for SF 99 as significant, or other changes made Monday, but does believe they are an attempt to open up the legislation to litigation if passed into law.

“They’re trying to weaken it up so they can keep this argument,” Bouchard said.

To Regulate Or Not

The discussion over whether gender transition treatments are being performed on minors in Wyoming was a major theme of Monday’s discussion. Although there is no evidence that any gender change surgeries have taken place in Wyoming, multiple parents and doctors confirmed that minors have, and are actively receiving, transgender hormone treatments and puberty blockers.

Justin Romano, a children and adolescent psychiatrist at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, said he has treated around a dozen transgender people since joining the facility about nine months ago. Romano said offering transgender treatments to minors reduces rates of depression and suicide. He said if passed into law, SF 99 “will likely raise the suicide rate in Wyoming.”

Another change made to SF 99 through another Oakley amendment to designate gender dysphoria as an officially recognized medical disorder in Wyoming law that would not interfere with any psychological or psychiatric care. This would cover mental health care and counseling services related to gender dysphoria.

“We’re talking about specifically what care we can and cannot give to children who are facing dysphoria — that’s squarely what the bill addresses,” Oakley said.

An amendment brought by Oakley rejected by the committee would have enacted a grandfather clause to exempt from the new law all minors who have already had transition treatments in Wyoming.

Rep. Mark Jennings, R-Sheridan, found fault with this amendment, saying it could open the door for children to be exempted simply if they had brought up the idea of receiving transition care in the past.

“We’re started down the road just by thinking one thing by having said that,” Jennings said.

Laramie Democratic Reps. Karlee Provenza and Ken Chestek were the only two members of the committee to vote against the bill.

Provenza said the Legislature is being hypocritical by increasing government regulation over parents on some issues and increasing parents’ rights on others, and that she expects the legislation to be challenged in court.

“This is the government infringing on a particular class of people,” Provenza said. “This is about the government pretending like they know better than the two people that love their children the most, and inserting themselves in doctor’s offices because of ideology, not fact, not science, not good policy.”

Bouchard said he found it telling that Provenza and Chestek supported Oakley’s amendments.

“The bad part that I see about this is, it’s always the Republicans working with the Democrats to do the damage,” Bouchard said.

Emotional Rhetoric

There was impassioned testimony offered Monday from both sides of the issue, both from former members of the LGBTQ community supportive of the bill and parents of transgender youth in Wyoming opposed.

Cheyenne resident Robin Goodspeed said she was freed of a “lesbian atheist life” upon connecting with Christ. Goodspeed said she identified as queer for more than 20 years, battling suicide and depression throughout with no effective help given by medical practitioners.

“I was prescribed the ‘born gay, be happy and take a pill’ therapy,” she said. “I am horrified now to understand what the medical/psychiatry/psychology world is doing to children. They are not telling them the truth.”

Cheyenne resident Michael Christoffersen is the parent of a transgender child. Contrary to some popular belief, Christoffersen said he and his wife did not take the decision to allow their child to receive transgender lightly.

He also said the Legislature should not be regulating this issue.

“The sponsors of this bill call it an act relating to public health and safety, which is a blatant lie,” he said. “My child’s health care has no bearing on the public’s health and it should not be up for discussion inside the walls of any level of government. It’s a discussion that’s had between the child, qualified health care provider, and me and wife.”

Jennings disagreed, bringing up the government’s role in providing laws that forbid committing forms of violence against children.

“The point to this bill is that we’re making a legislative decision as do we think this is a statutorily OK thing or does it fit in the parameters of neglect or abuse?” Jennings said. “I would argue that it has abuse attached to it.”

SF 99 will move on to the House next. If it passes there, it will come back to the Senate for concurrence, and then after that the governor’s desk.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter