Five families, three healthcare professionals, and two progressive healthcare organizations have filed a lawsuit to stop Texas’s ban on gender-affirming care – which will force trans teens to de-transition – from going into effect.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) signed S.B. 14 into law this past June. It says doctors cannot prescribe youth hormones or puberty blockers and cannot perform gender-affirming surgery on minors (something that is already extremely rare). It also says that any youth currently receiving such care must be weaned off of their treatment – essentially forcing them to detransition.
When he was called out, he mocked his critics by repeating it over and over.
The lawsuit alleges that S.B. 14 violates the Texas Constitution, specifically the Due Course of the Law Clause, which they say protects parents’ right to make medical care decisions for their children without state interference. Gender-affirming care is supported by major medical organizations like the American Medical Association, the Endocrine Society, and the American Psychological Association.
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The lawsuit also says that it violates doctors’ property rights under the Texas Constitution by not allowing them to exercise their profession, as well as trans youth’s right to be treated equally no matter their sex. The lawsuit notes that S.B. 14 doesn’t actually ban any specific procedure. Rather, the procedures are banned only when transgender youth try to access them.
“The ban does nothing to protect the health or wellbeing of minors,” the suit states. “To the contrary, it gravely threatens the health and wellbeing of adolescents with gender dysphoria by denying them access to evidence-based, medically necessary, and often lifesaving medical treatment.”
One of the plaintiffs is 16-year-old transgender boy “Nathan Noe” and his mother. The complaint says that he had severe anxiety and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder before he started testosterone. His mother says that he started changing at around eleven when he became withdrawn and his grades dropped. His parents started homeschooling him, and then at 13 he started menstruating.
“Having his period was so distressing to Nathan that he would barely leave his room, and when he did, he would curl up on a couch looking ‘haunted and empty,’” the lawsuit says.
He soon came out as transgender and his mother took him to his doctor, who connected the family to several other medical specialists. Among them was a doctor who specialized in gender dysphoria who put Nathan on testosterone.
“Being on testosterone has transformed Nathan’s life: he has regained interest in activities he loves, like singing and swimming; he has newfound confidence that enables him to form and maintain healthy relationships; and he is excelling at school again,” the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit says that he was getting ready for top surgery, but that has been canceled since S.B. 14 was signed. His parents have been forced to take him out of state to continue any treatment for gender dysphoria, leading to lost work and school as well as stress on the family, which includes two younger children and his elderly grandmother, who requires care.
“This law interferes with the parental rights and the autonomy of parents to make medical decisions for their transgender adolescents. The rights of medical physicians to continue providing best practice care to their patients,” Lambda Lega’s Paul Castillo said. He and his colleagues are trying to get an injunction to block the law from going into effect on September 1.
Texas was the 19th state to ban gender-affirming care for transgender youth, and advocates have been successful in getting temporary injunctions against such laws in all other states that have passed them. Only in Tennessee last week did a federal appeals court rescind an injunction that had previously been granted and allow the gender-affirming care ban to go into effect.