SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Senate Bill 140 bans most sex reassignment surgeries and hormone replacement therapies for those under 18.

It passed in the Georgia Senate on March 6 along party lines of 32-22.

The bill’s text does not specify that exact treatments are banned, but defines them as “sex reassignment surgeries, or any other surgical procedures, that are performed for the purpose of altering primary or secondary sexual characteristics and hormone replacement therapies.”

Savannahians are giving the legislation mixed reviews.

The Executive Director of the First City Pride Center, Lawrence Appenzeller, says he is concerned for the children he sees on a daily basis.

“There are a lot of local youth who identify as trans and nonbinary,” says Appenzeller. “I’d say our youth group is primarily all trans and nonbinary youth.” 

Appenzeller says he’s already seen the impact such legislation has on children he mentors, like a 12-year-old who he says, tried to go to South Carolina to get treatment and was denied.

“We’re looking for options here, and there are none,” adds Appenzeller, “It’s heartbreaking to hear that this kid that’s been waiting since they were six to live as their true authentic self won’t be able to do that anymore.”

Beth Majeroni is also invested with local children as the co-leader of the No left Turn in Education Organization: Chatham County Chapter. She says she supports the bill on the basis of research, even consulting board-certified endocrinologist, Dr. Michael K. Laidlaw, on how this affects children’s bodies.

“He says that gender affirmative therapy can cause future sterility, increase cardiovascular and cancer risks, bone disease, and death,” says Majeroni.

She even says SB 140 doesn’t go far enough- saying she believes it should include the banning of puberty blockers.

“It’s a gateway to the more severe gender-affirming therapies that should only be reserved for those of age,” Maherjoni adds.

P-Flag president, Carla Faith-Moore transitioned in her adulthood. Says she sees the bill as an attack on the LGBTQ community.

“Growing up trans, before that was even a thing, I look back at all the pain that is caused me,” says Faith-Moore, “I look at other children; I’m involved in several groups; I look at kids in their teens and 20s who are looking at bills like this and saying ‘we’re trying to be eradicated.”

She also says she believes the decisions of transition are a matter of privacy, and should not be controlled by the government.

“I think medical decisions should be left up to the parents, the doctors, and the children, not to a politician trying to get a vote,” says Faith-Moore.

SB 140 now heads to the Georgia House of Representatives for a vote.