Jul 17, 2023 - Health

Texas trans lawsuit adds to legal battles nationwide

Illustration of a medical cross with a blue to pink gradient

Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios

A lawsuit filed last week against Texas is the latest in a string of suits nationwide attempting to stop states from banning gender-affirming care.

Driving the news: Five families, three medical providers and two LGBTQ+ organizations sued the state of Texas alleging Senate Bill 14, which goes into effect in September, violates the state's constitution.

  • The group called the ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youths "just one piece of the Texas Legislature's discriminatory agenda for targeting transgender Texans."

State of play: Texas has led the nation in anti-transgender legislation filed this year, with 57 bills.

The intrigue: SB 14 limits medical treatments for what it terms “transitioning a child’s biological sex” or “affirming a child’s perception of the child’s sex” — but, the suit points out, it doesn’t limit the same medical treatments for other diagnoses.

The other side: The Texas Attorney General's Office did not respond to Axios' request for comment.

  • Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick celebrated the Senate's passage of the bill in April, saying "I believe the practice of child gender modification is abhorrent and must be stopped in Texas."

Zoom out: This month, a federal appeals court lifted an order that had blocked part of Tennessee's gender-affirming care ban, allowing the law to go into effect immediately. That means transgender minors in Tennessee can't get prescriptions for puberty blockers or hormones.

  • In Georgia, a similar gender-affirming care ban remains in place after a group of parents sued the state to block the law days before it was set to go into effect. A federal judge granted the state government more time to mount its defense against the suit.
  • Meanwhile: Oklahoma is asking that a lawsuit challenging the state's ban on gender-affirming care be dismissed because the law protects children from the possible side effects of hormone therapies, per NPR.

Yes, but: Courts have halted gender-affirming care bans in several states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Florida and Indiana.

Zoom in: The Texas suit details the stories of five transgender youths and the efforts of their parents to seek gender-affirming care for them.

  • Luna, 12, of Bexar County, loves swimming, art and piano. She has seen a child psychologist since she was 6 and has been on puberty blockers for about a year. By the fourth grade, she was exclusively using she/her pronouns.
  • Maeve, 9, of Montgomery County, started wearing girls' clothes from the moment she could speak. Her name was legally changed before kindergarten, and she started seeing an endocrinologist when she was 6. Maeve, her mother and her sibling are moving out of state so she can continue medical treatment, while her father stays behind.
  • Nathan, 16, of Williamson County, came out as transgender after his 13th birthday, and his family sought medical care to stop his menstruation and later start testosterone treatment. Transitioning has given him "a newfound confidence that enables him to maintain healthy relationships," the suit says.
  • Samantha, 15, of Hays County, came out as transgender when she was 12. She loves theater, video games and sports, but isn't allowed to compete on her school's girls sports teams due to Texas law. Her parents sought medical care for her when she was about 13. The family is now considering how to get her medical treatment outside the state.
  • Grayson, 15, of McLennan County, was almost 12 when he told his mom that he's a boy. Before then, Grayson struggled and self-harmed. His mother has "seen a massive positive change" after he received hormone therapy.

Go deeper: How gender-affirming care works.


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