Tennessee ban on health care for transgender youths takes effect

Published 9:45 am Thursday, July 13, 2023

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A new law banning gender-affirming health care for transgender youths is now in effect in Tennessee.
The law prohibits medical providers from providing gender-affirming health care to transgender youths and requires trans youth currently receiving gender-affirming care to end such care within nine months of the law’s July 1 effective date, by March 2024.
Lucas Cameron-Vaughn, staff attorney for the ACLU of Tennessee, said the ruling is heartbreaking for transgender youths and their families in Tennessee, because they relied on the order from the trial court, where a judge looked at their individual circumstances and science and found the statute was likely unconstitutional.
“The Court of Appeals has allowed the law to take effect, which will cause harm to transgender youths and their families in Tennessee,” Cameron-Vaughn contended. “Because they’re going to have to leave the state for their medical care, at great expense, or else completely lose access to that medically necessary care.”
Cameron-Vaughn pointed out the 6th Circuit is the first federal court to allow a ban on gender-affirming care to take effect after courts have unanimously blocked such bans in Arkansas, Alabama, Florida, Indiana and Kentucky. Opponents of gender-affirming care contend it is too risky for minors, arguing they might regret the decision.
Cameron-Vaughn noted despite the preliminary ruling from the circuit court of appeals, the ACLU is continuing to advocate for transgender youths and families to gain access to gender-affirming health care.
“The court has said it’s going to decide by September 30 whether or not to enjoin the law from taking effect before the trial,” Cameron-Vaughn stressed. “And so the fight isn’t over. And we’re still out there working hard every day to make sure that your rights are protected.”
Cameron-Vaughn added in their lawsuit, they argued the statute amounts to sex discrimination against young people, because they are transgender, and against their families. He added the ACLU believes the law violates the families’ and the parents’ rights to make medical decisions for their families.

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