AUSTIN, Texas - Families and medical providers announced a suit against the State of Texas on Wednesday afternoon in light of recent efforts to ban medical care for transgender youth. The lawsuit seeks a temporary injunction in order to block Senate Bill 14 before it can go into effect on Sept. 1, 2023.
The plaintiffs, who have been filed pseudonymously in order to protect their identities, include five families with transgender children and three doctors, alongside PFLAG, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group, and GLMA, an organization of LGBTQ+ and allied health professionals.
"Transgender Texans, like all Texans, have the right to get the medical care they need," said Brian Klosterboer, Staff Attorney at ACLU of Texas, in a press release on Thursday. "SB 14 is a textbook example of discrimination… [w]e must prevent politicians from doing more harm to our kids."
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SB 14, authored by state Sen. Donna Campbell (R), restricts access to treatments such as puberty blockers and hormone treatments for transgender youth. These treatments, which are widely supported by medical professionals, are still allowed for non-transgender youth under SB 14.
"They are actively ignoring the science, dismissing best-practice medical care, intervening in a parent’s right to care for and love their child and explicitly exposing trans youth in Texas to rampant discrimination," said Paul D. Castillo, Senior Counsel at Lambda Legal, in the press release. "This law is not just harmful and cruel, it is life-threatening."
SB 14, which was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott on June 2, 2023, also threatens to take away licenses from doctors who choose to provide gender affirming care to transgender youth.
"Under this law, GLMA’s health professional members are forced to make an unthinkable choice: either endanger the health and wellbeing of their transgender patients by abiding by this harmful legislation or violate the law by delivering evidence-based, life-saving care in accordance with their extensive medical training and professional ethics," said Alex Sheldon, Executive Director at GLMA, in the press release.
The lawsuit argues that SB 14 violates the Texas Constitution by violating parental rights along with enacting discriminatory prohibitions on gender-affirming care.
Bans such as SB 14 have been opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Similar laws which restrict health care for transgender youth have been successfully challenged and overturned in other states, including Florida and Arkansas.
For the plaintiffs, hope remains that overturning SB 14 will improve safety and quality of life for the over 29,000 transgender youth who live in Texas.
"I love Texas. This is my community. This is where my family lives," said Nathan Noe, a plaintiff in the lawsuit and a sixteen-year-old transgender boy, in the press release. "This is the place I grew up and I do not want to leave it because my government has decided to attack people like me."