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Montana among 16 states seeking to set limits on transgender youth

Sam Edelman, a teen from Bozeman, Montana, was told by a doctor that he was too young for hormone treatment. Ten months later, on Feb. 20, 2016, Sam died by suicide. (ADAM EDELMAN)

(KHN) Sam Edelman felt like a girl for as long as he could remember, his dad said. As Sam’s 18th birthday approached, and after years of researching hormone treatments, the high school senior scheduled an appointment with a doctor who treats transgender people.

It was a big step for Sam, a musician, a runner, a snowboarder and a taekwondo black belt who still identified as a boy at that point and had shared his secret only with his family and closest confidants.

The doctor said Sam was too young and thought it unlikely that any doctor would treat the Bozeman, Montana, teen for the same reason. Ten months later, on Feb. 20, 2016, Sam died by suicide.

“Sam was devastated,” said Adam Edelman, Sam’s father, recalling that visit with the doctor. “He lost hope.”