Transgender teen speaks out against bill prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors

A bill to prohibit gender-affirming care for children is a signature away from becoming law.
Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 7:55 PM CST
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - A bill to prohibit gender-affirming care for children is a signature away from becoming law. Passed by the House and Senate, it now sits on Gov. Tate Reeves’ desk. The bill has been controversial, sparking protests.

For one Coast transgender teen, the bill is very much personal.

“What I want you to understand is our parents are not hurting us, our parents are saving lives and you are getting in the way,” said Levi Myers-Rowell, directing his statement to Mississippi lawmakers.

Myers-Rowell made his message clear at the state capitol last week -- he wants the state to stay out of his healthcare choices.

Despite rallying with dozens of other families and transgender teens, HB 1125 passed. That bill would ban both gender reassignment surgery and hormone replacement therapy for minors in the state.

“I am angry about this bill,” said Myers-Rowell. “I am disappointed in the government. I am frustrated that my community is so marginalized.”

The impact of what will likely become law leaves Levi’s mother Jodie worried too. She says she’s afraid of what her son’s future will bring.

“It’s terrifying to have my rights as a parent removed to protect my child,” said Jodie. “I’ve been fighting since the day he was born, but I’ve really been fighting to keep him alive.”

At 16, the Ocean Springs resident says he frequently feels like an outcast with no freedom, and now, no voice.

“There are so many medical practices that if I identified as a cis woman, I could at least have a conversation, but as a trans boy, I have no opportunity to talk,” said Levi.

Levi says some people see him as less than human, and his mental health is a constant battle.

“My mind varies from moment to moment,” he said. “It’s definitely had a lot of dark places. This bill has definitely amplified those dark places.”

“There are a lot of children who will lose their lives over this,” said Jodie.

Finding hope is hard right now, but Levi says he wants to try to lift up those who are fighting the same battles.

“To any trans people who are angry, frustrated and scared, you are not alone,” said Levi. “You have a community that is there to support you.”

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