Support NH LGBTQ+ Youth
Sexual and gender minorities experience significant mental and behavioral health disparities when compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Sexual minorities report significantly higher rates of anxiety, depression, suicide, and substance abuse, among other harmful behaviors. Many of these disparities are systemic at the family, community, and societal levels, and the advancement of LGBTQ+ health equity is critical to ensure all Granite Staters can reach their full health potential.
Five different bills were introduced this session that would have negatively impacted LGBTQ+ youth.
SB 272 and HB 10 are very similar to a concerning bill put forth by the legislature last year that elevated parents’ rights to the detriment of the safety and welfare of children. Similarly, these bills would prioritize parents’ rights above children’s, resulting in possibly dangerous consequences. New Futures recognizes that parents play a crucial role in directing the upbringing of their children, but this role needs to be appropriately balanced with the interests of their children.
SB 272 and HB 10 are similar in that they both reduce a child’s ability to explore their identities outside of their families, which can increase anxiety, depression, and risk for suicidality. These bills remove the ability for adolescents to have privacy in school, extracurricular activities, and medical settings. All students should be able to feel safe in school and free to express their true selves, including students who identify as LGBTQ.
New Futures opposes these bills because they prevent students from exploring and expressing themselves in a safe way, especially in building support systems outside of their families. Students who have the ability to have support systems outside of their families have better behavioral health outcomes, especially if they’ve been exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) at home.
HB 10 came out of the House Education Committee without a recommendation. It was then killed on the House floor by a narrow 193-192 vote.
SB 272 was narrowly given an "inexpedient to legislate" recommendation in the Senate Education Committee. On March 16, it passed the Senate floor 14-10 along party lines. The bill will cross over to the House Education Committee - a hearing is scheduled for April 18.
Track the Bills
HB 619 targets LGBTQ youth and families in three major ways. First, the bill bans gender affirming care for minors. Second the bill bans any gender affirmation or education in public schools. Finally, the bill changes the definition of conversion therapy rending it virtually impossible for minors to refuse participation.
New Futures opposes HB 619. By eliminating the ability for minors and families to choose the appropriate degree of transition for themselves, minors lose the ability to explore their own identities in a safe and supportive manner. Transgender youth who feel rejected have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and risk of suicide. However, when transgender youth feel supported and welcomed by their families and communities, their mental health outcomes are significantly better. New Futures also opposes the provision of the bill that impacts the states’ established ban on conversion therapy because conversion therapy has been shown to negatively impact participants. For youth, conversion therapy poses a risk of significant harm through family rejection. New Futures opposes any bill that attacks a minor’s ability to feel supported by their families and communities.
HB 619 was retained in Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee, meaning it will not progress this legislative session. The committee may work on the bill over the summer and bring it to the House for a vote next year.
Track the Bill
HB 417 adds some forms of gender-affirming healthcare to the definition of child abuse.
New Futures opposes HB 417 because it limits the ability of families and medical professionals to use flexible, culturally competent, and gender-affirming approaches and treatments which may be necessary to support a child’s physical and mental health. Rejecting a child’s gender identity and denying them gender-affirming care leaves them at an increased risk for depression, self-harm, isolation, posttraumatic stress, incarceration, homelessness, and suicidality. Early intervention and treatment using gender-affirming approaches may alleviate psychological harm and lead to better physical and mental health outcomes. Minors and families in New Hampshire deserve the right to choose the appropriate level of gender-affirming care for their health and the right to privacy to explore those treatments with medical professionals.
HB 417 received an "Inexpedient to Legislate" recommendation from the House Children & Family Law Committee and was killed by voice vote on the House floor.
Track the Bill
HB 368 protects people who come to New Hampshire from other states to receive gender affirming health care by prohibiting New Hampshire providers from releasing medical information related to a person receiving gender-affirming health care to other states.
New Futures supports HB 368 because it offers protections for children and families who are seeking gender-affirming health care and are unable to do so in their home states safely. Gender-affirming care has been shown to greatly improve physical and mental health outcomes for those who are able to receive it.
HB 368 had a public hearing in Reps Hall on March 7. The bill was retained in committee, meaning the Health, Human Services and Elderly Affairs Committee can work on the bill over the summer and bring it to the House floor for a vote next year.