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US Supreme Court to consider gender-affirming care for minors

FILE - A flag supporting LGBTQ+ rights decorates a desk at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kansas, March 28, 2023. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to weigh in on gender-affirming care.
FILE - A flag supporting LGBTQ+ rights decorates a desk at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kansas, March 28, 2023. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to weigh in on gender-affirming care.

The U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in on transgender rights after the Biden administration and families have moved to block state-level bans on gender-affirming care.

Republican-led states have limited health care for transgender people, participation in school sports, usage of bathrooms, and drag shows. A law in Tennessee restricts transgender minors from accessing hormone therapy and puberty blockers.

At least 24 states have barred transgender women and girls from participating in some women’s and girls’ sports, while at least 11 have barred transgender women and girls from women’s and girls’ bathrooms in public schools.

The Biden administration and Democratic-led states have increased protections for transgender individuals.

The Cincinnati federal appeals court permitted Tennessee and Kentucky to enact laws after seeing blocks from lower courts, despite no separate appeal from Kentucky.

"Prohibiting citizens and legislatures from offering their perspectives on high-stakes medical policies, in which compassion for the child points in both directions, is not something life-tenured federal judges should do," stated the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling.

"Without this Court's prompt intervention, transgender youth and their families will remain in limbo, uncertain of whether and where they can access needed medical care," said lawyers arguing for teens in Tennessee.

Fifty-seven transgender people have joined the legal filing for the Supreme Court review, including high-profile figures like actor Elliot Page.

The challenging party argues that banning transgender care for minors violates the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which ensures equal protection and due process. The challengers argue that the amendment is violated by discriminating against individuals based on sex and their status as transgender, as well as by limiting parents from accessing medical care for their children.

Medical associations have noted that gender dysphoria can increase rates of suicide and that long-term studies show the effectiveness of gender-affirming care.

Lawmakers supporting restrictions have called the treatments experimental and possibly harmful.

The Supreme Court has weighed in on LGBTQ+ issues only a few times. In 2015, it nationally legalized same-sex marriage and legally forbade workplace discrimination against gay and transgender employees in 2020. In 2018, the court ruled in favor of a baker refusing to make a cake for a gay couple due to his Christian beliefs, and in 2023, they noted that free speech allowed certain businesses to refuse service for same-sex weddings.

Arguments will happen in the fall.

Some information is from The Associated Press and Reuters.

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