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Father of transgender activist speaks on the court's blockage of HB71

'Gender affirming care saved our daughter's life': Michael Devitt says there is a small sense of relief but he thinks the fight is not over when it comes to HB71
Posted at 6:34 PM, Jan 02, 2024

BOISE, Idaho — Last week, a federal judge blocked the enforcement of Idaho's ban on gender-affirming care for minors. That law was supposed to take into effect on January first of the new year.

  • Idaho News 6 spoke with Micahel Devitt, the father of Eve Devitt, a transgender activist in Idaho. He shared his family's experience.
  • Michael says while the blockage was a win, there is still more fighting to do when it comes to the ban, as Idaho's Attorney General has said the state will appeal the ruling.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.)
"Eve is absolutely hilarious, she is whip-smart, a super loyal friend," Michael Devitt said.

Those are the first adjectives Devitt uses to describe his daughter, Eve.

"Her transgenderism is the least interesting thing about her, yet it's the thing that our legislature and our governor, have decided to kind of break her down into," Devitt told Idaho News 6.

Eve is a transgender Idaho activist who has spoken out heavily against House Bill 71, which would have criminalized providing gender-affirming care to minors in Idaho.

Last week, a win came for the State's Trans community. A federal judge blocked the enforcement of the bill, which would've turned into law on January 1.

Related | Federal judge blocks ban on gender-affirming care for minors in Idaho

Eve is 18 now, so she wouldn't have been directly impacted by the new law. But when she was a minor she received gender-affirming health care treatment in the state

"My response was well, of course,' Michael said about the blockage of the law. "The constitution is super clear. You can not disadvantage one group over another just because you don't like them."

Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled Idaho was in violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment by denying healthcare, which is available for other treatments, to people on the basis of gender identity.

Idaho's Attorney General Raúl Labrador, who was named in the suit, disagrees with the ruling. He says these treatments are harmful to Idaho's youth, even comparing this ruling to federal court rulings about the eugenics movement in the 1920s.

"Judge Winmill's ruling places children at risk of irreversible harm. History will not look kindly at this decision," Labrador wrote in a statement last week.

The typical criticism for gender-affirming care for minors is suggesting children should wait until their adults to make these decisions about their bodies.

Michael says in some cases, including his family's, it's a life-or-death decision.

"Suicide rates for kids that are not given access to gender-affirming care are extremely high, like attempts and completions of suicide," Michael said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics says research shows a 60% decrease in moderate to severe depression, as well as a 73% decrease in suicidality among trans and non-binary youth when given access to gender-affirming care over a 12-month period.

Michael says he and his family, will continue to fight for the cause, even though his daughter is no longer a minor.

"We're in this for the long haul, even though Eve is now 18," Michael said. "That's not an issue with us and that's not an issue with Eve. We are going to use everything that we have to fight for kids that are not our kids but could have very well been our kids if the timing had been different."