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Douglas County DA signs letter condemning criminalization of transgender people, gender-affirming healthcare

Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez has signed on to a statement that decries efforts across the country to criminalize transgender people and gender-affirming healthcare, her office announced Tuesday. 

“The Douglas County District Attorney stands in full support of the trans community with a commitment to ensuring fundamental rights, dignity and humanity,” the office tweeted. “DA Suzanne Valdez was proud to add her name to this pledge.”

The letter comes from Fair and Just Prosecution, which is a network of prosecutors working toward “common-sense, compassionate criminal justice reforms,” according to a release from the organization. The letter is signed by 76 district attorneys, attorneys general and law enforcement leaders from across the country. 

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“Bills that criminalize safe and crucial medical treatments or the mere public existence of trans people do not promote public safety, community trust, or fiscal responsibility. They serve no legitimate purpose,” the letter states. 

“As such, we pledge to use our settled discretion and limited resources on enforcement of laws that will not erode the safety and well-being of our community. And we do not support the use of scarce criminal justice and law enforcement resources on criminalization of doctors who offer medically necessary, safe gender-affirming care to trans youth, parents who safeguard their child’s health and wellbeing by seeking out such treatments, or any individuals who use facilities aligned with their gender identity.”

Nationwide, 20 state legislatures considered bills that would prevent trans youth from accessing gender-affirming healthcare already in 2021, according to a release from FJP.

In Kansas, Republican Reps. Brett Fairchild, of St. John, Randy Garber, of Sabetha, Cheryl Helmer, of Mulvane, and Bill Rhiley, of Wellington, sponsored a bill that would have criminalized doctors performing gender-affirming surgery or providing hormone replacement therapy for minors. The bill didn’t advance beyond the House Health and Human Services committee. 

Another bill that would have banned transgender athletes from Kansas school sports fell one vote shy of overriding the governor’s veto in May. 

The only other Kansas official’s name on the pledge was Mark Dupree, district attorney for Wyandotte County. 

FJP-Trans-Criminalization-letter

Related coverage:

• April 16, 2021: Kansas GOP legislators target rights of transgender youth; Lawrence delegates and activists warn of harm

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