Members of the Kansas Legislature,

As health care professionals dedicated to promoting mental and physical health and well-being, we are deeply concerned about the recent wave of legislation aiming to ban essential health care for transgender Kansans under the age of 18.

H Sub for SB233 and similar bills disregard established medical best practices and inflict significant harm on an already vulnerable population. Additionally, the rhetoric used to promote these bans are completely inaccurate and perpetuate discrimination against transgender youth and their families.

H Sub for SB233 will harm transgender Kansans and their families, as well as threaten mental health professionals, pharmacists, and any medical provider that receives state funding or uses a state facility or building. This harmful legislation would ban only for transgender youth essential medical care otherwise available to non-transgender patients, such as puberty blockers, HRT, and gender affirming surgeries. It is written so broadly as to prevent all providers from “promoting or advocating” for gender affirming care if they are recipients of state funding for youth mental health services. H Sub for SB233 also seeks to ban the providers from using state funds to “provide or subsidize” gender affirming care to youth.

Gender dysphoria, which is marked by an incongruence between an individual's gender and sex assigned at birth that causes distress in some regard, is a legitimate psychological issue recognized by major medical and psychological associations worldwide. Essential health care for transgender individuals under the age of 18, including psychotherapy and hormone treatment, has been shown to be the most effective approach in alleviating distress and improving the quality of life for transgender individuals.

Banning access to essential health care not only denies transgender youth the support they desperately need but also sends a damaging message that their identities are invalid and unworthy of acceptance. This rejection can lead to profound psychological consequences, including increased rates of depression, anxiety, self-harm, and suicidality. Research has already identified that transgender youth have higher rates of suicide attempts and completions than their peers due to this societal mistreatment, which makes these laws even more damaging. A 2023 survey of transgender youth completed by the Trevor Project revealed that 41% of transgender youth reported that they seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.

Access to age-appropriate, medically necessary health care for transgender individuals is crucial for youth suicide prevention. A 2022 study of transgender and nonbinary youth ages 13-20 found that receiving gender-affirming care was associated with a 60% lower likelihood of moderate or severe depression and a 73% lower likelihood of suicidality over a 12-month follow-up. At a time when we are experiencing a frightening increase in suicide rates between the ages of 10 and 24, it is imperative to address and extinguish the root causes of the distress.  

Research consistently shows that supportive environments, including access to essential health care for transgender Kansans under the age of 18, significantly reduce these mental health risks. Conversely, denying such care only amplifies their struggles and perpetuates feelings of isolation, shame, and hopelessness. Furthermore, these bans undermine the professional judgment of medical and mental health experts who are trained to assess and provide appropriate care for individuals experiencing gender dysphoria.

Legislators should refrain from making medical decisions that should be kept between patients and their health care providers, and should heed the professional opinions informed by a plethora of data that indicates that essential health care for transgender Kansans under the age of 18 should be available to the community. 

It's crucial to recognize that transgender youth are not making impulsive decisions, but rather engaging in a thoughtful process with the support of their families, mental health professionals, and medical providers. Banning essential health care for transgender Kansans under the age of 18 removes a crucial lifeline from these individuals and places them at risk of long-term psychological harm.

Every major medical association and leading world health authority supports essential health care for transgender individuals.

As mental health professionals and medical providers, we have an ethical and moral responsibility to advocate for policies that promote the well-being of all individuals, regardless of their gender identity, which is why we cannot stand idly by when these laws are being presented. We must stand against these proposed bans and instead support measures that affirm the rights and dignity of transgender people, ensuring they have access to the care and support they need to thrive. We must reject attempts to restrict access to essential health care, and instead work toward creating inclusive and affirming environments where all individuals can live authentically and without fear of discrimination.

We urge you to sustain Governor Kelly’s veto of H Sub for SB233. 

Kansas Psychological Association

Jason Malousek, PsyD, LP

President, Board of Governors

Kara Nichimuta, PhD

Diversity Chair

Signed by:

Molly Allen, PsyD     

Marcus Alt, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist    

Esperanza Anaya, PhD     

Will Anderson, Pharm.D.,Orchards Drug, Owner

Sathya Baanu Jeevanba, Ph.D     

Elizabeth Bacchus, NP   

Lynn Barnett, MA, LSCSW, LCSW   

Joe Bellitti   

Jacob Bigus, LMSW, Interpersonal Psychiatry

Julia Billquist, LMLP     

Christy A. Blanchard, PhD, Blanchard Psychological Services, Inc

Mikela Bonner, BSN RN    

Rae Bowerman, LMSW, GENEX Therapeutic Solutions, LLC

Diana Bowman, APRN, FNP-C, AGACNP-BC   

Tallulah Breslin, MS, CCC/SLP, Harmonic Speech Therapy

Tallulah Breslin, MS CCC/SLP    

Carla Burford, MD     

Cara Busenhart, PhD, APRN, CNM, FACNM, Director, Clinical Associate Professor

Diane Carolan-Stegman, ACSW, LSCSW    

Luke Carter, MA, PsyD, LP   

Paul A. Chinn, Ph.D., LCPC, PA   

Hannah Clark, MA     

Mark A Clements, MD     

Lindsey Colburn-Malousek, The Guidance Center Training, Director

Caitlyn Crawford, LCMFT     

Michelle Cunningham, LCP     

Lindsey LP Curtis-Baker, LSCSW (KS) LCSW (WY), Curtis-Baker Therapeutic Services, Owner

Ann M Davis PhD, MPH, ABPP      

Sebastian De La Rosa, LMSW     

Maria Deckert, BSN     

Kayla Del, FNP-C     

Cassandra DeLaney, PsyD LP    

Michael Diana, Doctoral Practicum Student

Robert Diehl,  PhD     

Katherine Dillon, LPC     

Jessica Doane, LSCSW     

Sarina Durrant, ATR, PLPC, MA, The Wellness Counseling Center, LlC 

Stacey Eason APRN PMHNP-BC,       Season Health LLC, CEO

Quinn Eggesiecker-Mack, MA, LPC, LCPC CST  

Britta Ekholm, MS, LCPC, LPC   

Marcia Epstein, LMSW     

Colleen Colleen Fagan, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist 

Emily Feingold, LCPC     

Nicole Fenoglio, LSCSW     

Robert A. Feuer, MA, LCP,Greater Kansas City-Topeka Psychoanalytic Center, Past President

Lynn Fisher, MD       

Jessica Franz, MSN, MA, RN, CPHQ  

Brittany L. Frazier, LMSW      

Paula A Fried, PhD, LP    

Jennifer Fugate, Ph.D.     

Christine Fuhrman, LSCSW, LCSW    

Manuel Garcia, Medical Student

Erin L. Garwood, LP     

Mallory Garza, PhD     

Sarah Getch, PhD     

Tori Gleason, DC, MPH    

Peter Graham, PhD     

Heather L. Greenberg, Psy.D., LP-T 03294-T    

Emera Greenwood, MSW Candidate, Clinical intern

Melissa Greer, TLMFT     

Justin Grotheer, LMFT     

Shelly Gruenbacher, MD     

Matthew D. Guelker, Ph.D., Insight Psychological Services, LLC

Charli Guerin

Tina Haefke, LSCSW, Allies Therapeutic Services 

Kareem Hamadah, NRP, CCP-C, FP-C   

David C. Hanson, MD     

Kari Harman, LPC, The Prairie Wellness Counseling Center

Malati Harris, MD     

Carrie Hatch, LCMFT     

Heather  Hayden, LCMFT. CST     

Robin J Heinrichs, PhD, ABPP, CN, Neuropsychology Services of Kansas,  Owner & Neuropsychologist

John A. Helto, PhD     

Shannon Hiser, The Wellness Counseling Center, LLC, Owner/Therapist

Jared Holroyd, Kansas Pharmacists Association, Executive Director

Linda Hoopes, LSCSW     

Heather Jackson, LPC     

Lindsey Jenkins, Ph.D.     

George S Jerkovich, MD     

Clarissa Johnson, LCPC     

Debra F Johnson, Ph.d     

Bruce Johnson, LCP   

Sarah Johnson-Munguia, M.A.     

Judi Jones, LSCSW, LCAC    

Kristin A. Kahler, Psy.D., Manhattan Mental Health Services

Lisa Kilmer, CPXP     

Michelle Knoll, MD, MHPE    

Nicole Knust, FNP-BC     

Aimee Kozushko, LMT     

Hope Krebill, MSW, BSN, RN   

Kathryn D. Kriegshauser, PhD, ABPP, LP,  Kansas City Center for Anxiety Treatment, Director

Michael Kuehn, Graduate Research Assistant 

Malinda Kufahl, LMSW     

Alexa L'Insalata, MA     

Chris Lanterman, LCPC     

Alex Latham, PsyD, LP     

Ruth Lehman Wiens, MD, Trust Women,  Associate Medical Director

Rachel Locks, MD     

Tammy Luke, MBA, BSN, RN   

David J Lutz, PhD     

Aaron Lybrand, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist

Benjamin Lyons, MACG, LCPC, LPC, ADHD-CCSP, ASDCS, CTMH, The Purple Wellness Trust Inc., Executive Director & Chief Psychometrist 

Jill S Macon, LCPC     

Chaz Mailey, Psy.D.     

Lisa Marin, LMSW     

Mary Matzeder, PhD     

Reed Maxwell, Ph.D. ABPP, Kansas Psychological Association, Practice/Service Representative, Board of Governors

Rachel McDaniel, LSCSW, LCSW, SEP   

Briana McGeough, MSW, PhD    

Beth McGilley, PhD, FAED, CEDS-S   

James P McHugh, Ph.D.     

Taylor McMillen, LMLP-T     

Monica McNamara, PhD     

Sally McVey, LSCSW     

Amanda Mogoi, MSN, APRN, FNP-C,  M-Care Healthcare, CEO

Megan K. Monroe, MSW, LSCSW     

Fausto H Mora, Ph.D     

Candice N. Moran, Psy.D., HSPP (KS & MO)    

Laura Myers,CNM      

Dani Novo, LMSW     

Margaret H. O'Hara, MD     

Tracy Ochester, PsyD     

Beth Oller, MD, FAAFP    

Cora Olson, MPH, MA     

Nancy C. Osborn, Ph.D.     

Bethany Owens, LSCSW     

Catherine Papachristou, MSW, LSCSW    

Carol H Paulson, PhD, LP, APRN   

Alexandria Peters, LCSW     

Kimberly Pham, Medical Student

Logan Powell, Medical Student (M1)

Jessica Provines, Ph.D., L.P.    

Amber Pugh, RN, BSN     

Ashley Radtke, LMFT     

Heather Rasmussen, PhD     

Andrea Reece, LMSW, Allies Therapeutic Services Mental Health, Therapist

Ashley Rhodes, PhD     

Jennifer Robinson, LSCSW     

David C. Rodeheffer, PhD     

Medea Rodina, APRN     

Allison Roodman, Ph.D.     

Kristen Sager, PhD     

Clara Sainte, LSCSW     

Julia Schafermeyer, LCPC     

Michelle Scheuring, MPA     

Emily Scott, LCMFT     

Michael Seely, PsyD LP    

Dylan Severson, DNP APRN FNP-BC   

Tyler Sharpe, LCPC MA PhD   

Lydia Shontz, LMLP     

Kim Silva RN BSN     

Vanessa J. Simmons, FNP-C     

Carla Sloan-Brown, MS, LCP    

Anita L Slusher, LCPC     

Ragan Snyder, LSCSW     

Megan Solberg, PhD     

Donna Spedding, RN (retired)     

Tyler D. Staples, PsyD, Kansas Psychological Association, Early Professional Board Member

Kathleen R. Starr, PhD, LP    

Samantha Stayton, LSCSW     

Caleb Stephens, LMSW, LMAC    

Emily Sterk, LCMFT     

Anthony J. Stricklan, MD FASAM    

Joseph Stroud, DNP, APRN     

Natalie Stroupe, Ph.D.     

Erin  Sunsong, PhD, LCPC, LPC, Sunsong Counseling LLC

Leah Swindle, LSCSW, LCSW, RPT   

Courtney Taylor, LMSW     

Marijo Teare Rooney, Ph.D.     

Claire Thomas, MD     

Kathryn Louise Tolle, Ph.D., Kansas Psychological Association

Rebecca Tong, Community Care by Trust Women, Co-Executive Director

Abigail Toy, LSCSW, Rainbow Roots Therapy LLC

Mandi Turner, PsyD, LP    

Angela Turpin, MD, Pediatric Endocrinologist     

Larry W. Tyndall, Ph.D.     

James Vayda, MD     

Lisa Vayda, RPh, MS, MA   

Dr. Victoria Vossler      

Vincent Mogoi, DNP, APRN, FNP-C,    M-Care Healthcare, Owner

Susan Voorhees, PsyD     

Blair Watkins, APRN     

Kirk A. Weaver, Ph.D. LCPC LCAC   

Belinda Werth, APRN     

Chandler  Whaley, LCP, LMLP    

Asher J. Wickell, LCMFT, Choosing Wholeness

Elizabeth Wickstrom, MD     

Megan Wilson, LPC     

Elizabeth Wine, LSCSW     

Mary J Yanics, Ph.D.     

Marci Young, Psy.D., L.P.