An Alabama police officer has begged lawmakers not to criminalise the “hero” doctors who supported his teenage daughter as she came out as transgender.
David Fuller, a sergeant with the Gadsden Police Department, addressed the Alabama House Judiciary Committee as it considered a bill that would make it a felony to prescribe puberty blockers or other forms of transgender therapy to minors.
After his wife died Fuller was left raising three children as a single father; when one of them told him she was transgender at age 16, he was absolutely floored.
“To say I was shocked was an understatement,” he said, according to AL.com.
He quickly realised that his child needed expert help, which thankfully he found at UAB medicine in Birmingham, Alabama.
Five years on, Fuller told the panel that he could not comprehend penalising the professionals who helped him and his daughter navigate such a difficult journey.
“They made us feel like we weren’t alone, that we were normal in an abnormal situation and they could help us,” Fuller said. “They didn’t push anything on us. Just the opposite. They reeled us in at every step.
“They made sure it was baby steps. It’s been a five-year process now and they haven’t pushed anything on us. Just the opposite. And they are angels to me.
“And as a police officer, you’re asking me to someday put handcuffs on these people that are heroes in my life? … Please, don’t ask me to do that.”
The bill, dubbed the Alabama Vulnerable Child Compassion and Protection Act, could see doctors face up to 10 years in prison if they provide gender-affirming treatment to trans youth like Fuller’s daughter.
As it prepares to vote on the bill in the coming weeks, the judiciary committee heard arguments from seven other people at the public hearing.
Among them was a Montgomery paediatrician Dr Den Trumbull, who claimed that transgender minors would benefit from parents who ignored their trans identity and forced the gender they were assigned at birth on to them.
Claiming that teenagers lack the maturity to make decision about receiving hormone therapy, he insisted: “Our gender-confused children need help. But not this form of misguided therapy.”
But Dr Morissa Ladinsky, associate professor of paediatrics at UAB Medicine, said the treatment is part of established, evidence-based standards of care that promote good health for trans youth.
“These youth are not mentally ill. They’re not jumping on a trend,” she said. “They’re real. They’re ordinary and loving people. Just their inner sense of gender may differ from their sex assigned at birth.”
A landmark study released this month proved that the majority of trans teens who take puberty blockers feel happier, more comfortable, and had better relationships with family and peers as a result of the treatment.
It corroborated an earlier study which examined the correlation between suicide risk and access to puberty blockers, definitively proving that the drugs really do save lives.