Utah Rep. Birkeland says ‘unnatural hormone concoctions’ may have led to St. George-area murders

Kera Birkeland’s statements, made about Mia Bailey on X, are false, according to a Utah health care professional.

Utah state Rep. Kera Birkeland on Saturday insinuated the cause of two killings in Washington City may be due to gender-affirming hormonal therapy, despite a lack of scientific evidence to support her claim.

“This might be an unpopular opinion, but I feel strongly that we need to talk about how harmful unnatural hormone concoctions are,” Birkeland started her tweet, made on the platform now known as X.

Mia Bailey was charged Friday with 11 felony counts, including two of aggravated murder, after allegedly killing her parents in Washington City. Bailey told police “she did not have remorse” for her actions, according to a probable cause statement.

Bailey, 28, successfully petitioned for a name and gender change in Fifth District Court in St. George in 2023.

“I can only imagine, and I admit, I’m totally speculating, that when taking hormones at the levels and rates in which someone who is transitioning is taking them, it only magnifies these uncharacteristic and irrational behaviors,” Birkeland wrote. “This leaves them and those around them at high risk.”

The Morgan Republican’s tweets suggest that Bailey’s alleged violence could be linked to hormonal therapy. She did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

Gender-affirming hormone therapy has been shown to reduce psychological distress. There is an acknowledgment that “more high-quality evidence for psychosocial effects of gender-affirming hormone therapy is vital for ensuring health equity for transgender people,” according to a study published in Nature.

Kristin Francis, a psychiatrist at University of Utah, Huntsman Health Institute, has more than two decades of experience in how hormonal therapy affects people’s mental health.

“There is evidence that gender affirming care — so HRT — for people who are assigned a certain gender at birth and are needing to transition hormonally to their gender, which typically is the opposite, would actually boost mental health (and) mental well-being,” she said.

Francis is not familiar with the specifics of Bailey’s case and only spoke about HRT treatment on trans people generally. And she emphasized that hormonal therapy does not increase aggression.

Experiences of transgender people can have damaging effects on one’s mental health, Francis said: “Stigma against trans the trans community definitely perpetuates and worsens underlying depression, anxiety, and trauma.”

Birkeland’s tweet garnered more than 18,000 views as of Saturday afternoon. Another X user replied to her tweet saying, “Maybe don’t opine on this unless you’re a licensed expert in hormone concoctions.”

To which Birkeland replied, “I typically do what I want, because 1. this is a social media platform site, and my personal page. And 2. this is still, for now, a free country.”