DOJ challenges Alabama law that bans gender-affirming care for trans youth

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Friday challenging a recently enacted law in Alabama that criminalizes certain types of gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth.

Driving the news: The DOJ alleges that the law, one of dozens targeting trans youth across the country, “discriminates both on the basis of sex and on the basis of transgender status, each in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.” .

What they say : “The law discriminates against transgender minors by unjustifiably denying them access to certain forms of medically necessary care… [that are] well recognized within the medical community as medically appropriate and necessary, while placing no comparable limitation on medically necessary care by cisgender minors,” the complaint alleges.

  • A doctor is allowed to prescribe testosterone to a cisgender teenager if he has delayed pubertal development, but “the law makes it a crime for the same doctor to prescribe the same testosterone to a young transgender man for affirm their gender identity,” according to the complaint.
  • The DOJ also notes that the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees that gender-affirming care is “a safe, effective, and medically necessary treatment for the health and well-being of some children and adolescents with gender dysphoria.”

To note: Two doctors, along with the families of two transgender teenagers, have filed a lawsuit to have the Alabama law struck down.

The big picture: Medical associations, including the American Medical Association, have urged governors to oppose such measures, saying trans and non-binary gender identities are “normal variations of human identity and expression.” .

  • Health experts and pediatricians have also expressed concern that the flood of bills criminalizing gender-affirming care could contribute to a new wave of mental health crises among trans children.
  • A January poll found that more than two-thirds of young LGBTQ people said recent debates over state laws targeting trans people had a negative impact on their mental health.

Go further: Culture war over caring for transgender children escalates

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