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March 26, 2023
As many state supreme courts in the US experience an ongoing battle over gender-reaffirming care for minors, the movement to ban it has made it to about half of US states already, with six having already passed laws restricting the important medical care for young transgender individuals.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services says on its website “early gender affirming care is crucial to overall health and well-being” of transgender and nonbinary children and adolescents. In spite of this, more than half of US states have already passed laws restricting such care for individuals who are not yet considered legal adults. Of the six states – Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, South Dakota, and Utah – that have already passed laws limiting or banning gender reaffirming care for minors, two have had their laws blocked temporarily while court cases play out.
Outside of those six states, an additional 25 US states are currently considering laws that would restrict or ban gender affirming care for minors, and in some states, up to 26 years old. The care can consist of gender-reassignment surgeries, hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and social affirmation, which entails gender-appropriate clothing, bathrooms, hairstyles, and other external care.
Many of the arguments against providing minors with gender affirming care are based on the idea that young people are not mature enough to make such important life decisions until they are older. A ban on hormone therapy treatment for minors in the United Kingdom in 2022 may help their arguments along. A Harvard Law Review report argues for gender affirming care for minors, saying “access to gender-affirming care provides critical and empirically demonstrable psychological, social, and legal benefits for trans youth.”
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: LUKE MOCHERMAN
PHOTO CREDIT: CNN