As a physician, I am deeply concerned about multiple bills being discussed in our Legislature that discriminate against LGBTQ+ youth and adults. Each bill on its own is extremely troubling; the sheer number of discriminatory bills is truly frightening.
When legislatures pass bills that discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals, the suicide rate among this population increases even more. For example, when the infamous “bathroom bill” in North Carolina passed, the number of calls to a suicide hotline for transgender individuals doubled. Alternatively, we also know that laws that promote equality, such as marriage equality, significantly
decrease the suicide rates. Allowing businesses and medical providers to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals, prohibiting transgender youth from playing on sports teams, prohibiting individuals from aligning their birth certificate with their identity, and interfering with the physician-patient relationship by dictating what medical care can be provided to LGBTQ+ individuals would all only further increase the discrimination that LGBTQ+ Montanans already face.
Harm is being done to many Montanans by even considering such bills in our legislature. I urge you to take action by contacting your legislator and urging them to oppose all bills that would further discriminate against our fellow LGBTQ+ Montanans.
Kathryn Lowe, MD
Bozeman Daily Chronicle Letter to the Editor 2/28/21