BREAKING: Biden Administration Files Federal Lawsuit Challenging Tennessee’s Ban on Life-Saving Care for Transgender Youth

by Cullen Peele

Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, applauded the Department of Justice’s filing of a federal lawsuit against the State of Tennessee challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted S.B. 1, that bans age-appropriate, medically necessary gender-affirming care for transgender youth. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Bill Lee last month.

Today, the Department of Justice announced decisive action, recognizing what is at stake for transgender people’s lives in Tennessee and across the country. Rather than tackle any real issue at stake for Tennesseans, the legislature and Governor Lee decided to attack vulnerable youth who are at the mercy of politicians who think they know better than families, doctors, and the greater medical community. Gender affirming care is life-saving care. Period. We appreciate that the Biden Administration is saying ‘enough is enough’ when it comes to attempts by Governor Lee and other Tennessee lawmakers to legislate transgender children out of existence. We applaud the DOJ’s announcement and will continue to work with President Biden and the rest of his administration to send a clear message that our community is not going anywhere.

Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign

Get the facts about gender-affirming care:

  • Every credible medical organization – representing over 1.3 million doctors in the United States – calls for age-appropriate gender-affirming care for transgender and non-binary people.
    • “Transition-related” or “gender-affirming” care looks different for every transgender and non-binary person.
    • Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.
  • Gender transition is a personal process that can include changing clothes, names, and hairstyles to fit a person’s gender identity.
    • Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions is their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor.
    • Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time that are in the best interest of the child.
    • In most young children, this care can be entirely social. This means:
      • New name
      • New hairstyle
      • New clothing
      • None of this care is irreversible.
  • Being transgender is not new.
    • Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new – but that’s because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years.
    • But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass.
    • And very few transgender people change their mind.
  • ALL gender-affirming care is:
    • Age-appropriate
    • Medically necessary
    • Supported by all major medical organizations
    • Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents
  • And in many cases, this care is lifesaving!
    • A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this — transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide.

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