Parents, Medical Experts, Faith Groups and 21 States Urge Appeals Court Not to Reinstate Alabama Law Criminalizing Healthcare for Transgender Youth

by Aryn Fields

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Parents of transgender children have filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to uphold the injunction against S.B. 184. The Alabama law, blocked by a federal judge in May 2022, would criminalize doctors and parents for ensuring their transgender children can access necessary medical care. Medical experts, faith groups, and 21 U.S. states also filed briefs urging the Appeals Court to keep the bar on S.B. 184 in place.

The Alabama parents of transgender children described in their brief the importance of being able to seek the best medical advice and care to support their children’s well-being, and how they have seen their children flourish with access to the right care.

Excerpts from the Parents’ brief:

When their children came out to them as transgender, each one of these parents was surprised, scared, and confused. Their very first step was to make sure their child knew that they would never stop loving and supporting them, and then they set out to determine what they needed to do to protect and ensure their child’s health and safety. This included seeking professional medical assistance to determine whether their child was, in fact, suffering from gender dysphoria and, if so, to devise a treatment plan.

Laura and Brian Coe, parents of 15-year-old Matthew (proceeding anonymously)

As much as Matthew has benefitted simply from being accepted and affirmed by his family, school, doctors, and friends, his medical transition is a critical measure for his well-being…Since obtaining the medical care that he needs, Laura and Brian have seen Matthew begin to “come to life.” The Coes would “worry for Matthew’s safety” if there were a disruption to his care. They are “simply trying to support their child and provide him with the best care possible.”

Melissa Soe, parent of 15-year-old Taylor (proceeding anonymously)

Since coming out and receiving care, Taylor has gone from “an anxious, sad kid who had a hard time getting up in the morning, to a kid who is up and out on their bike, in the woods, and going to camp.” Taylor is finally beginning to remind their parents of the happy-go-lucky kid they were when they were younger, prior to puberty taking its toll…” [It is] very important to Taylor to have continuity of care,” which would be disrupted by implementation of [SB 184]. Simply knowing that such care is accessible has significantly decreased Taylor’s distress.

Cynthia Lamar-Hart, parent of Gwendolyn who began receiving transition-related care while an adolescent living in Alabama and is now in her late 20s
Because access to care was not available in Alabama at the time, the family had to travel out-of-state:

[E]ven with the means to afford and make time for out-of-state treatment, Cynthia witnessed how … months of delays in Gwendolyn’s care resulted in suffering that she would not have experienced had she been able to visit a clinic in-state. Cynthia quickly saw a change in Gwendolyn after she began receiving transition-related care. Once Gwendolyn began the process of transitioning, she was no longer withdrawn, and became more confident and engaged socially and at school.

Joining these parents in asking the Court of Appeals to continue blocking enforcement of S.B. 184 are:

  • The Trevor Project
    The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for LGBTQ young people.

All friend-of-the-court briefs filed in support of plaintiffs-appellees and other case documents can be found here. Oral argument is scheduled for the week of November 14, 2022 at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Montgomery, Alabama.

The plaintiffs-appellees are represented by Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC, King & Spalding LLP, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), SPLC Action Fund (SPLC), and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

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