Photo courtesy of Jason Witmer
Update: As of January 24, 2024, OutNebraska has been made aware that not all public comments submitted at November’s Department of Health and Human Services hearing were included in the hearing summary, despite the department’s claim on Monday that Chief Medical Officer Dr. Timothy Tesmer reviewed all comments in their entirety.
“This is yet another instance illustrating a lack of transparency and accountability from public officials when it comes to our rights,” said Abbi Swatsworth, executive director for OutNebraska. “We were promised that we would be heard, but this is evidence to the contrary.”
“We have grown very tired watching the well-being of our youth be treated with such little care by officials. When lawmakers wonder why young people are leaving Nebraska at such high rates, we can only point to actions like this as part of the problem.”
OutNebraska Executive Director Abbi Swatsworth issued the following statement in response to to the finalized guidelines, which contain no substantial changes following November’s public hearing:
“This is no doubt deeply disappointing news for our community. Many Nebraskans, youth and parents alike, are now grappling with a new and difficult reality when it comes to accessing medically necessary care—we do not take that lightly. Given statements from Attorney General Mike Hilgers and Governor Jim Pillen, we expect the regulations to be fully enacted quickly.
“In light of these developments, OutNebraska will be reaching out and starting a dialogue with DHHS in order to best help our community navigate the new guidelines. We continue to recommend that impacted community members connect with their primary care and mental health care providers to anticipate and plan for possible changes to care.
“To our trans youth: you deserve to grow and thrive without fear. OutNebraska will continue to do everything we can to make that possible.”
OutNebraska is a non-partisan organization working to empower, celebrate and grow LGBTQ+ communities in Nebraska. For more information visit outnebraska.org.