SCOTUS Will Review Tennessee’s Ban on Gender-Affirming Care Next Term

More than 20 states have passed legislation that would restrict certain treatments for transgender minors, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to review a Tennessee law that bans gender transition care for people younger than 18. The case will be the first opportunity the justices have to consider the constitutionality of such restrictions, which 23 states have passed since 2021.

Transgender young people, their families and medical providers asked the court last fall to review a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit that upheld a law that bars transgender children in Tennessee from accessing puberty blockers and hormones.

At the time, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti (R) called the 6th Circuit’s ruling “a big win for democracy.”

The 6th Circuit is one of three courts of appeal that has upheld gender transition bans.

More than 20 states have enacted similar bans, according to the Movement Advancement Project, an LGBTQ rights think tank. Whatever the court rules will affect those states as well.

Major medical organizations say that gender-affirming treatments are an effective way of treating gender dysphoria, the clinical term given to the distress people can experience when their gender identity is in conflict with the gender assigned to them at birth.

Plaintiffs, including transgender teens and their families, say the law violates the Constitution’s 14th Amendment, which requires that the law apply equally to everyone, in part by barring medical treatments for transgender people that are available to others. They also say the law violates the right of parents to make health care decisions for their children.

The Biden administration joined the challenge to the Tennessee law.

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