Texas court passes ‘cruel ban’ on gender-affirming care for minors

LGBTQ+ advocates rally together in support of trans rights as Republican lawmakers in Texas try to push back on the trans community and access to gender-affirming healthcare for trans youth in the state

Texas’s Supreme Court has ruled that a new state law banning gender-affirming care for minors will come into effect this Friday (1 September).

The law, or the Senate Bill 14, will outlaw gender-affirming care to treat minors with gender dysphoria, including puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

Under this care, any healthcare providers who offer this care to minors will have their licenses revoked.

Exceptions have been made for minors who were already receiving gender-affirming care before June 1 – though those individuals will be forced to “wean off” any drugs they have been prescribed.

A Texas judge has granted a temporary injunction against the state's ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth.
A Supreme Court judge has granted a temporary injunction against the state’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth. (Anatoliy Cherkasov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The sudden passing of this law will now make Texas the most populous state to enforce severe restrictions on transgender children.

Last week, a state district judge issued a temporary injunction to block Senate Bill 14, ruling that it violated the rights of transgender children and their families, and violated doctors’ ability to abide by “well-established, evidence-based” medical guidelines.

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However, hope was short-lived when, almost immediately after the injunction was issued, Texas officials appealed to the state’s highest court for civil cases.

The entirely Republican Texas Supreme Court lifted that injunction on Thursday (31 August) with no explanation to back their decision.

The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Texas attacked the court’s decision in a statement to X (formerly Twitter).

“Let’s be clear: Trans youth are loved and belong in Texas. We won’t stop until this cruel ban is struck down,” they wrote.

“No law, regardless of how unjust, can stop trans youth from existing.”

Senate Bill 14 was first signed at the beginning of June by the state governor Greg Abbott, marking a devastating blow for Pride month.

The ban largely disregards studies that show trans people who have access to gender-affirming treatment are significantly less likely to experience depression and anxiety and consider suicide than those who are barred from such treatments. 

Trans people, parents of trans kids, healthcare professionals, and major medical groups have agreed that gender-affirming healthcare is medically necessary and appropriate care for trans youth. 

Despite the overwhelming data, Texas is one of 20 states in the US that has introduced laws to ban gender-affirming care for minors.

According to data collected by the ACLU, approximately 140 pieces of anti-trans health care bills have now been introduced by state legislatures in 2023 alone.

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