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US shootings, 2 deaths and 3 injuries, all victims under age

On the evening of the 17th local time, a shooting incident occurred inside and outside an apartment building in the southwest of Atlanta, Georgia, USA, killing five minors, two of whom died.

The local police said in a statement issued in the evening that the police received the alarm at 17:00 and found several victims of gunfire after arriving at the scene. Police officer Charles Hampton said that a group of armed people came to the apartment where the crime was committed and the dispute occurred. Another group of people with the same weapons opened fire first, and the conflict then moved to the outside. Police found two people dead outside the apartment and three injured inside.

Hampton said the two dead were boys, aged 14 and 16 respectively. Two other boys, aged 11 and 15, and a girl, aged 15, were hospitalized. At least two of the victims were students of the Atlanta Public School.

The Associated Press quoted Hampton as saying that the gunfight was escalated by “some kind of controversy” on social media. At present, the number of gunmen is not clear, but the police believe that many people shot.

Latest progress of sinking of Thai warship: 31 sailors are still missing

Comprehensive news: On the 19th, the Royal Thai Navy announced on social media the rescue progress of the Royal Navy ship Sukhothai, which sank late on the 18th night. It said that 75 navy sailors had been rescued and 31 were still missing.

The Thai navy said on Twitter on the afternoon of the 19th that as of 12:00 on the 19th, 75 of the 106 sailors on board had been rescued, and the rest 31 were missing. Eleven of the rescued people are being treated in Bangshapan Hospital.

According to Agence France Presse, late on the 18th night, the Royal Thai Navy warship Sukhothai encountered huge waves while patrolling the sea about 20 nautical miles away from Bangshapan, causing water to enter the ship. Due to the damage of the electronic system and the stoppage of the operating system, the warship lost control and finally sank on the southeast coast of Thailand. A picture disclosed by the Thai navy shows that the warship tilted sharply to one side after the water entered.

A spokesman for the Thai navy said that the search and rescue operation started at 7 a.m. local time on the 19th and is still in progress. Two Seahawk helicopters, two frigates and an amphibious ship participated in the rescue operation.

According to CCTV news, Thai Prime Minister and Defense Minister Bayou said on the 19th that he was mobilizing all parties to search and rescue other personnel.

According to the Bangkok Post of Thailand, the “Suketai” light ship was built by Tacoma Shipbuilding Company of the United States and has been in service for nearly 36 years since 1987.

Feature: Why did the US State Council set up the “China Group”?

The State Council recently established the “China Affairs Coordination Office” (“China Group”), which means that the newly established department will ensure that the United States can “responsibly manage” its competition with Beijing, and promote its vision of an open and inclusive international system. Experts analyzed that the “China Group” was established to strengthen the coordination of work with China between different departments of the Biden government.

When presiding over the launching ceremony of the newly established “China Group”, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the agency would bring together experts from the US State Department and from outside the State Department on China issues, who would work side by side with colleagues from the US State Department in other regions of the world, as well as experts in international security, economy, technology, multilateral diplomacy and strategic communication.

CNN reported that the “China Group” was headed by Rick Waters, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs of the State Council.

In fact, before that, several government departments in the United States had set up special departments for China. In 2020, McCarthy, the Republican leader of the US House of Representatives, announced the establishment of the Republican “China Task Force”. In July 2020, the US Department of Homeland Security under Trump established the “China Working Group”. In March 2021, the “China Working Group” set up by the US Defense Secretary Austin began to operate. In October 2021, CIA Director Burns said that he would establish a high-level working group on China, namely the “China Task Center”.

In May this year, when Antony Blinken delivered a speech on the US government’s policy towards China, he claimed that China posed “the most serious long-term challenge” to the so-called “international order”. On the other hand, he also stressed his determination to avoid a “new cold war” with China.

Why does the US State Department set up the “China Group” at this time? In this regard, Li Mingjiang, an associate professor of the Rajaratnam School of International Relations at Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, said in an interview with the China News Agency in Hong Kong on the 19th that it is clear that the US government now wants to deal with China through this department and strengthen coordination between their different departments. The main purpose is to adapt to the competition with big countries like China, but there are also aspects of cooperation with China. Its essence is a manifestation of the institutionalization of government departments, which makes the US work with China more effective.

It is also commented that the “China Group” is aimed at optimizing the functions of the State Council itself. In order to improve the efficiency of the US House of State in obtaining information and listening to the opinions of other departments, the final coordinating department for China policy should be the US National Security Council.

It is also analyzed that the relationship between the “China Groups” set up by different departments in the United States is full of competition and in step. Competition means that different departments in the government compete for the dominant power of the policy agenda on China related issues to gain political benefits; Coordination means that each department implements the US strategic competition policy towards China from their respective areas of competence, so as to continuously strengthen the policy system of sustained and intensive cross sectoral competition against China. Among them, the National Security Council is more prominent because of its special relationship with the President. It usually coordinates some major actions between different government departments.

Argentina returned to Buenos Aires after winning the championship

On December 20, in the early morning of the 20th local time, after winning the World Cup in Qatar in 2022, football king Messi and the Argentina team arrived in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.

The Argentinian national team immediately moved into the center of the Argentine Football Association. At noon on the same day, coach Scaroni will lead the team members to take the bus to Buenos Aires, the capital, to bypass the city center. The ultimate goal is the obelisk, and a celebration will be held to enjoy with the people.

On the afternoon of the 19th, the Argentine government announced that the 20th was a national holiday. Both public and private organizations would receive “rewards” for staying at home. The banks and tax bureaus would work until noon to let the Argentine people celebrate together with the team that won the World Cup.

On the 19th, after the news of the championship, a large number of people in Buenos Aires celebrated the team’s winning of the World Cup outdoors.

On the 18th, in the final of the 2022 Qatar World Cup football match at the Russell Stadium, Qatar, Argentina and France tied 3-3 in regular time and extra time. Argentina won the championship 7-5 on penalties.

Lukashenka: Russian supplied missile system enters combat duty state

On December 20, local time, President Lukashenka of Belarus and visiting Russian President Putin jointly attended the press conference after holding talks in Minsk. According to several foreign media reports such as Interfax News Agency and the Russian News Agency, Lukashenka said at the press conference that the S-400 air defense missile system and the Iskandar missile system provided by Russia to Belarus had entered the combat duty state.

According to the Interfax News Agency, at the press conference on the same day, Lukashenko said to Putin, “I want to thank you. We understand each other, support each other and made the necessary decisions. Both I and the (Belarusian) soldiers especially thank you for fulfilling your commitments. You provided the S-400 system and the ‘Iskandar’ system, which you promised six months ago, and we have turned these systems into combat duty.”.

Foreign media previously reported that Putin, when meeting with visiting Lukashenko in St. Petersburg on June 25 this year, said that Russia would provide “Iskandar-M” missile system to Belarus in the next few months. Lukashenko said that Belarus should be prepared for everything and was worried about the confrontation policy pursued by the governments of Lithuania and Poland. In addition, according to the Russian news agency, Lukashenko also said on March 1 this year that he had requested Putin to deploy additional S-400 missile systems west of Minsk. He also said that Belarus needed the S-400 missile system to defend its territory.

On December 19 local time, Putin arrived in Minsk for a one-day visit and held talks with White President Lukashenka. This is Putin’s first visit to Belarus since June 2019.

Russian media said that Putin and Lukashenko attended a large-scale joint meeting attended by members of the two governments and leaders of ministries and commissions on the same day. Lukashenko said at the meeting that the West was worried about his frequent meetings with Putin. Russia and Belarus are open to dialogue with countries including Europe and hope that rational voices will dominate the EU.

Russian Foreign Minister: Putin will make an annual summary “Who will never be trusted again”

China News Agency, December 20 (Xinhua) According to Russian media, on the 20th, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that President Putin himself would make an annual summary, and he would have many contacts with his colleagues, pointing out that the main summary of this year was “finally clear who can’t be trusted”.

Lavrov said to reporters: “The main conclusion is that the situation has finally and irreversibly demonstrated what is happening in the world, who is trying to act with what intentions and plans on the international stage, who is negotiable, and who is no longer trusted.”

He also pointed out that most countries in the world do not support the dominance of the United States and its allies on the world stage, which nobody likes.

Putin once said that the situation in Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporoge is extremely serious. The security institutions in these “new regions” of Russia should make every effort to ensure the safety of citizens and safeguard their rights and freedoms to the greatest extent.

Putin called for strengthening the work of security agencies in key areas in the event of new threats, and instructed special forces to continuously control strategic transportation targets and energy infrastructure and other places. Putin said: “The counter intelligence agencies, including the military, now need to maintain maximum calm and concentration. It is necessary to severely suppress the actions of foreign special forces and quickly identify traitors, spies and saboteurs.”

In addition, according to the spokesman of Russian President Peskov told the “News” that after the former German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a statement on the Minsk Agreement, Russia has every reason to stop believing the words of European politicians. Merkel earlier talked about the Minsk Agreement in an interview with the German magazine Time. She pointed out that “the Minsk agreement in 2014 is an attempt to give Ukraine time”. Merkel added that she believed that the issue of Ukraine and Georgia joining NATO discussed in 2008 was a mistake.

Benzema announced his retirement from the French national team

News Network, December 20 — French striker Benzema, who plays for Real Madrid Club of Spain, announced on the 19th that he would withdraw from the French national team.

Benzema chose to announce the news on his 35th birthday. He posted a photo of himself wearing the shirt of the French national team on the social platform, with an article saying: “I have made the necessary efforts and made the mistakes I should have made. I am proud of all this. I have written my own story, and the story that belongs to us is coming to an end.” This short passage means that his “gratitude and resentment” with the French national team will come to an end.

Benzema made his national debut in the friendly against Austria in March 2007. Later, he participated in the Euro 2008, Euro 2012 and World Cup 2014 with the French team. But from the end of 2015, he was rejected by Deschamps’ French national team because he was involved in the extortion case of French player Walbouena. It was during his absence that the French team ushered in one of the most brilliant periods in its history: the team won the runner up at the European Championships in 2016 and won the championship at the Russian World Cup in 2018.

In 2021, Deschamps was forced by external pressure to recruit Benzema again. Although Benzema scored four goals in the European Championship, it was a pity that France was not in the last eight. In October of the same year, Benzema helped the team win the UEFA Champions League, which was the only trophy he ever lifted in the national team.

In Qatar World Cup, Benzema was selected into the French national team as the winner of the new Golden Ball Award. However, at the beginning of the match, he injured his left leg in training. Coach Didier Deschamps made a quick decision to let him leave the team. Benzema’s dream of the World Cup has once again failed. Only one day after France lost the final, Benzema, who had already returned to Madrid, announced the end of his national team career.

So far, Benzema has made 97 appearances in the national team uniform and scored 37 goals. He is the fifth player to score goals in the history of the French national team.

Liaoning Ship Launched to Sea to Train Japanese Fighters for “Emergency Lift off Response”

Hong Kong China News Agency, December 20 (Xinhua) According to the Kyodo News Agency of Japan, on the 19th, the Ministry of Supervision of the United Staff of the Ministry of Defense of Japan announced on the 18th that the Chinese naval aircraft carrier Liaoning was found taking off and landing fighter planes and helicopters in the Pacific Ocean south of Okinawa on the 17th. This is the second time this year that the aircraft carrier formation of Liaoning Ship has gone out of the Western Pacific for training.

According to Kyodo News Agency, from around 11:00 on the 17th to around 17:00 on the 17th, the training of Liaoning’s carrier based aircraft lasted about 6 hours. The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force frigate “Mist Rain” was under surveillance, and the aircraft of the Air Self Defense Force “took off urgently”. According to the report, China may have implemented some kind of training. The Ministry of Defense said that the Liaoning warship and other Chinese warships went down to the Pacific Ocean from the eastern Hainan on the 16th through the sea area between Okinawa and Miyako Island. On the 17th, about 260 kilometers southwest of Chongdadong Island, a total of five ships sailed in formation with two missile destroyers, one frigate and one high-speed combat support ship. According to the news released by the Ministry of Integrated Staff and Supervision of the Ministry of Defense of Japan on the 16th, the escort formation of Liaoning warship includes the 055 destroyer Anshan Ship, Wuxi Ship, 052D destroyer Chengdu Ship, 054A frigate Zaozhuang Ship and a 901 comprehensive replenishment ship Hulun Lake Ship.

Kyodo News Agency said that the Liaoning warship stayed in the Pacific Ocean for about 3 weeks in May this year and about 10 days in December last year. Both took off and landed shipborne fighters.

According to the Japanese Defense Ministry on the 19th, the Chinese survey ship sailed westward about 50 kilometers southeast of Tanegashima at about 3:20 a.m. After entering the adjacent area outside the “territorial sea” from the south of Seed Island, the ship entered the “territorial sea” from the south of Ukushima Island at about 6:50 a.m., then moved within the “territorial sea”, and left from the west of Kouyong Liangbu Island at about 10:00 a.m.

In response to the discovery on the 17th that there were fighter planes and helicopters taking off and landing on a Chinese aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean south of Okinawa, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroshi Matano said at a press conference on the 19th that “it may be intended to improve the aircraft carrier’s operational capability and its operational execution capability in the open sea airspace”.

Matino also mentioned that the Chinese survey ship sailed into the Japanese territorial waters around Ukushima, Kagoshima Prefecture, on the 19th, and stressed that “we will guard and monitor with a high sense of tension”.

With student loan forgiveness stuck in courts, here’s how Feds are still erasing debt

oes debt relief mean to borrowers? Debt forgiveness will change the lives of some borrowers, but fall short for others

These changes don’t necessarily come with the multibillion dollar price tag of the wider debt relief plan – though they could be expensive – and they won’t touch every borrower. However, put together, they have the potential to ease paying student loans for hundreds of thousands of Americans in the years to come.

That is, if a friendly president remains in office.

Many of these changes rely on the federal government using the expanded authority that comes with a national emergency. Others have navigated a complicated and esoteric rule-making process that is heavily subject to the whims of the current administration.

“They have not wasted any time or opportunity to make changes that are really beneficial to student loan borrowers,” said Betsy Mayotte, the head of the Institute of Student Loan Advisors, a group that offers free advice in repaying student loans. “They’ve taken advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A lot of consumers don’t understand that.”

The one-time debt relief plan makes borrowers earning less than $125,000 annually – or $250,000 for couples, eligible for up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness. It’s widely expected to benefit roughly 40 million borrowers. As of November 3, about 26 million people had applied for relief.

What will student loan forgiveness cost? Biden’s student loan relief plan will cost US about $400 billion, CBO estimates

The federal government has frozen student loan payments since March 2020. As part of that, the feds also set interest rates at zero percent and told collection agencies to stop trying to recoup overdue debts. The administration previously encouraged borrowers to apply for relief by mid-November to receive the debt relief before the payment pause ends.

To that end, the administration continues to urge borrowers to apply and has said the Education Department will “process discharges when we are able to do so and you will not need to reapply.”

How is the administration forgiving student loans in 2022?

The recent changes don’t face the legal scrutiny of wide-ranging debt relief, yet. Starting July 1st, 2023, borrowers who are disabled won’t have to have their earnings reviewed for three years after they claim relief. Those who attended a school that closed suddenly will have their debt forgiven automatically after a year. The Education Department also streamlined a debt forgiveness program geared toward public service workers and simplified the process for qualifying for relief through income-driven repayment plans.

In addition, the administration has said it will discharge the debts of tens of thousands of students who attended predatory institutions like Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute. And the new rules will make it easier for borrowers to sue universities that defrauded them.

Some $5.8 billion in student loan debt was canceled years after the collapse of Corinthian Colleges, which now Vice President Kamala Harris sued as attorney general of California.

Previously, borrowers generally had to apply for relief individually through the so-called borrower defense rule. The time-intensive and bureaucratic process has left many behind. As of September more than 392,000 applications were awaiting review by the Education Department. The new rule bars institutions from requiring students to sign non-arbitration clauses and allows legal services groups to take on their cases in class-action suits.

Advocates for students ripped off by predatory institutions, including the National Student Legal Defense Network, have long been pushing for the administration to adopt this practice.

ITT Tech students to receive debt relief:Former students to get $4 billion in federal loan forgiveness

These changes mean “students will now have an opportunity to hold predatory schools accountable,” said Aaron Ament, president of the National Student Legal Defense Network.

At the same time, the Education Department is set to forgive an additional $6 billion in student loan debt for borrowers who already applied for debt relief under the borrower defense program. That relief will depend on a judge’s approval of a settlement agreement between a group of student borrower advocates representing nearly 200,000 students and the Education Department. The final hearing was Wednesday, and the judge will issue a written decision on that case within a week.

The borrower advocates sued the administration under former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos because of the department’s delay in processing tens of thousands of applications for relief. The final agreement will grant debt relief to students who attended one of dozens of universities – including the University of Phoenix, Grand Canyon University and DeVry University – and had applied for debt relief via the borrower defense rule before June 20, 2022.

The federal government still has to decide how to handle borrower defense applications for students who attended a university not included in the settlement list.

Do income-driven repayment plans qualify for student loan forgiveness?

Along with the mass debt relief plan, Biden recently unveiled its plans for a new income-driven repayment program. It will reduce borrowers’ payments to 5% of their discretionary income. The lowest rate offered now is 10%, though it can vary depending on a borrower’s specific plan.

the federal government lowers the borrowers’ expected payment to match their wages, though doing so extends the life of the loan, often to 20 or 25 years from the standard 10-year repayment period. Nothing prevents them from paying off their debt more quickly, however.

What is discretionary income?:And why it matters in student loan repayment

Borrowers who make 10 years of payments will have their debts erased so long as their balance is below $12,000. The proposed changes would also cover borrowers’ unpaid interest so long as they make their monthly payments. The exact details of that plan are still being developed, and the administration is expected to release them in the coming weeks.

Republicans including Rep. Virginia Foxx, the ranking member on the House’s committee on education, question the proposal and have requested a full cost of what the income-driven plan would cost.

Ella Azoulay of the Student Borrower Protection Center helps Giselle Morton of East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, with her student debt loan at Massasoit Community College in October.

At the same time, the Education Department plans to conduct a review of payments under income-driven repayment programs that could mean the erasure of some borrowers’ balances. Those who have been paying on their loans for 20 to 25 years through these plans at some point will receive automatic forgiveness, even if they’re not enrolled in such a plan now.

This review hasn’t attracted nearly the same level of attention as the president’s attempt at broad forgiveness, but of all the regulatory changes, Mayotte said, the income-driven waiver has the potential to affect the most borrowers.

It depends, she said, on how far back the department goes back when reviewing payments. The feds could start in 1994, when the first income-driven plan was introduced. But Mayotte said the agency hadn’t specified a date, which could mean they’re considering all borrowers for the review.

As of the third quarter of 2022, there were roughly 9 million federal borrowers who are 50 years or older, and about 1.5 million of them were enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan. It’s unclear how many have been making payments for more than 25 years.

What has changed and who qualifies for Public Service Loan Forgiveness

One of the department’s most touted accomplishments is the revamp of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Top department officials have repeatedly described previous versions of the program as broken. But the agency has said more than 236,000 borrowers with $14 billion in debt have been approved for forgiveness thanks to the changes announced in October 2021.

The program promises debt relief to borrowers who work in the public service sector for 10 years while making payments on their student loans. The Education Department is supposed to discharge the debt after a decade, but many borrowers found it was nearly impossible to access relief. When Biden took office, only a few thousand had ever had their debt forgiven through the program, according to the Education Department.

Want student loan forgiveness? Millions of jobs qualify for updated program — and yours might be one of them.

The increase in borrowers qualifying comes thanks to loosening some of the strict eligibility requirements that had been associated with that plan. For example, borrowers had to ensure they had the right type of loan and that they were enrolled in a qualifying income-driven repayment plan.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona has said he wants the Education Department to prevent students from being taken advantage of by for-profit colleges. The federal agency is revisiting rules around for-profit colleges and how effectively they help students get jobs.

The waiver, which expired Oct. 31, 2022, allowed for all kinds of past payments to count toward a borrowers’ eventual forgiveness.

However, the Education Department says borrowers still have time to take advantage of some of the waiver’s flexibility. The agency will count past payments toward a borrowers’ eligibility for forgiveness through the same one-time review for income-driven repayment plans.

Borrowers with commercially held FFEL loans looking to benefit from the relief will need to consolidate their debts into a federal Direct Loan by May 1.

Another key change: Borrowers will have to show they currently work in a qualifying public service job to qualify for the debt relief. Those jobs include public school teachers and firefighters, but also government employees and attorneys for nonprofits. (Under the waiver, loan holders only had to prove they had worked in a qualifying job at some point in the past.)

Is that student loan phone call a scam? How to avoid scammers and get debt relief safely

And starting July 1, 2023 the government will permanently loosen many of the program’s most restrictive requirements. Payments later than 15 days, for example, will now count toward the total required for forgiveness. Borrowers who pause their payment obligations due to cancer treatment, military service or economic hardship will receive credit for the months they miss. Previously, borrowers who consolidated their Direct Loans would lose all progress they had made toward debt relief.

How will the Education Department handle student loans?

All told, the changes made to the department’s current student loan relief programs has meant tens of billions in discharged debt, though that is only a fraction of the hundreds of billions that could be canceled as part of the president’s broad one-time loan forgiveness plan. The regulatory changes are likely to last longer and be available to borrowers who may not benefit from one-time debt relief, including future students.

Some changes, like the Public Service waiver, are possible thanks to the 2003 Heroes Act, which allows the Education Secretary to modify student loan payment requirements during national emergencies.

But the forward-looking policy changes emerged via a complicated process known as negotiated rulemaking. It’s a lengthy ordeal that requires months of public comments and discussions from groups that may be affected by the rules. And the Education Department is required to craft its rules around student loans via this approach.

A person holds a sign thanking President Joe Biden for canceling student debt during a rally in front of the White House in Washington, in August.

Sattelmeyer said when Congress passes laws, it can’t account for every permutation of what that law looks like. Negotiated rulemaking, though, allows federal agencies to interpret the intentions of lawmakers.

Who’s saying what about Title IX? How schools will treat sexual misconduct is changing.

The next administration has the ability to undo the rules. The DeVos administration, for example, altered the criteria associated with the borrower defense from the Obama-era and some of the protections tied to the anti gender-discrimination law, Title IX. It’s also the process through which the Biden administration will have to go through to get its new income-driven repayment plan approved.

A more permanent change to how borrowers repay their student loans would require an act of Congress, but with Republicans poised to win the House, and possibly the Senate, that day is likely years away.

Should transgender youths have access to gender-affirming care? Why bans are ‘cruel’ and ‘dangerous’

“I just don’t understand why they are so mean.”

Those were the words Lizette Trujillo heard from her son Daniel, who came home from school one day when he was 8, unsettled that a young classmate was being bullied.

Trujillo seized on the chance for a life lesson on empathy versus sympathy.

But Daniel, who is transgender, responded like a wise soul: “Mom, I think God made me this way on purpose: So I can be empathetic and teach empathy.”

Seven years later, Trujillo still carries that moment close at a time of raging noise from conservative corners over rights of transgender and non-binary youths – even for something as basic as health care.

“What we are missing in this world,” Trujillo said, “is empathy.”

Transgender Awareness Week puts spotlight on health care

For the 1.6 million transgender people in the U.S., Transgender Awareness Week that began Sunday raises the visibility of the community – and focuses on issues trans people face. Gender-affirming care for youths has been at the top of that list.

In 2022, at least 15 states have restricted access to gender-affirming care or considered laws that would do so, according to the Williams Institute. Some of the bills carry penalties for health care providers and even families.

A rule approved this month by Florida’s medical boards, at the urging of GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, would bar transgender people under 18 from receiving hormones or undergoing surgeries as treatment for gender dysphoria.

Last spring, Trujillo’s home state of Arizona restricted access to gender-affirming care for minors. The bias that Daniel, now 15, faces “is through his state lawmakers trying to legislate him out of the state and out of existence through their policies,” she said.

“So many stories are being told around” gender-affirming health care, she said. ”What’s not being told is why this is up for debate at this large scale.”

HORMONE THERAPY HELPS:Transgender children who get hormone therapy enjoy better mental health, study says

‘How do you debate the lives of kids who are happy?’

Lawmakers pushing bills that target young people do not represent the majority of the country, said Jen Grosshandler, co-founder and executive director of the GenderCool Project, a youth-led group that works to replace misinformed opinions with real experiences of transgender and nonbinary youths. Most people have no desire to interfere with parenting of others, particularly when it comes to a child’s physical and mental well-being, she said.

“Should trans kids be able to have care or not have care? Most people in the U.S. don’t care about this conversation,” Grosshandler said. “So why in the world is this conversation even happening?”

Lawmakers are using their political power to “whip up nonsense about families raising good, solid kids,” she said. “It’s not a debate. How do you debate the lives of kids who are happy, doing well in school, volunteering in their community, learning multiple musical instruments, going to college and building amazing lives?”

Trujillo says some legislators “don’t care about the health care of our children. They are trying to make this a wedge issue to win elections.”

TRIAL OVER ARKANSAS BAN:Landmark trial over Arkansas’ ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youths begins

What does gender-affirming care look like?

Gender-affirming care is a term for medical care that is “highly individualized,” said Dr. Kellan Baker, executive director of the Whitman-Walker Institute. “There is no set way to go through gender affirmation. Everyone’s needs are different.”

There can be social transitions such as changing a haircut, using different pronouns or wearing different clothes, he said. Medical care, which can include hormone therapy, can be crucial, he said. Puberty delaying medications, which are reversible, Baker said, allow youths time to explore their identity “free of a ticking clock.”

Backers of bills to restrict care often say they are saving young people from regret later in life. Says Baker: “The entire point is to prevent regret by giving them time. Not doing that is particularly cruel.”