Texas Families and Medical Providers Sue Texas to Block Dangerous Transgender Youth Medical Care Ban

Affiliate: ACLU of Texas
July 13, 2023 11:00 am

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AUSTIN, Texas – Families and medical providers late yesterday sued the state of Texas and other state defendants to block Senate Bill 14 before it can go into effect Sept. 1. They are represented by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the ACLU, Transgender Law Center, and the law firms Scott Douglass & McConnico LLP and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP.

This law would ban necessary and life-saving medical care for Texas’ transgender youth, cut off access to care for adolescent minors already receiving treatment, and require the state to revoke the medical licenses of physicians providing the best standard of care to their trans patients. This lawsuit is filed in Travis County District Court and is seeking a temporary injunction aiming to block S.B. 14 before it goes into effect Sept. 1.

The plaintiffs challenging this law include five Texas families, three medical professionals, and two organizations representing hundreds of families and health professionals across the state. PFLAG is the nation’s first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them. GLMA is the oldest and largest association of LGBTQ+ and allied health professionals, including those who treat LGBTQ+ patients.

The five Texas families challenging this law come from diverse backgrounds across the state with transgender children and teenagers who would be irreparably harmed if S.B. 14 goes into effect. The bill’s passage has resulted in families splitting up or planning to leave Texas to continue treatment for their children. The families are suing pseudonymously to protect themselves and their children, who are transgender Texans between the ages of 9 and 16.

Quotes from Texas family plaintiffs:

“Because my daughter might need puberty blockers in the next few months, I am temporarily relocating out of state with her and my other child. Her father will stay behind to continue working in Texas,” said Mary Moe (she/her), a plaintiff and the mother of Maeve Moe (she/her), a 9-year-old transgender girl. “We all intend to return and reunite in our home once it is safe for Maeve to receive this care in the state. I am heartbroken to have to take my children away from their home and their father, even temporarily. But I know that Texas is not a safe place for my daughter if this law forbids her access to this care.”

“The idea of growing up as a woman felt so indescribably and inexplicably wrong, and I couldn’t picture myself as a young teenage girl. I was constantly unhappy,” said Nathan Noe (he/him), a plaintiff in the lawsuit and a 16-year-old transgender boy. “Being on testosterone has tremendously improved all aspects of my life. I am now able to focus on all of the positives of my life and experience my teenage years to the fullest. I am able to socialize and balance schoolwork without thinking about my gender all the time. I love Texas. This is my community. This is where my family lives. 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.”

“As a parent, I don’t want to see my child suffer and don’t understand why the state government would try to strip away my ability to seek the best possible health care for my child,” said Lazaro Loe (he/him), a plaintiff in the lawsuit and father of Luna Loe (she/her), a 12-year-old transgender girl. “If S.B. 14 goes into effect and Luna loses access to this health care, I am deeply concerned about the anxiety, depression, and suicidality that she will face. Her happiness, health, autonomy, and independence would be stripped away by this cruel legislation; and we likely would be forced to leave our home here in Texas.”

Quotes from litigation team:

“The attack that Texas legislators and the governor have launched against transgender youth and their families and providers is stunning in its cruelty,” said Paul D. Castillo (he/him), senior counsel, Lambda Legal. “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. This law is not just harmful and cruel, it is life-threatening.”

“Transgender Texans, like all Texans, have the right to get the medical care they need,” said Brian Klosterboer (he/him), staff attorney, ACLU of Texas. “The Texas Constitution forbids our state government from overriding the judgment of patients, their families, and their medical providers. S.B. 14 is a textbook example of discrimination, since it bans evidence-based medical care for transgender youth while allowing any other young person in Texas to get the same treatment. We urge the court to block this law before it goes into effect. Transgender Texans and their families have courageously spoken out against this cruel legislation and many have already had their lives upended by it. We must prevent politicians from doing more harm to our kids.”

“Trial courts have all found bans identical to the one signed by Gov. Abbott to be blatantly unconstitutional, openly discriminatory, and dangerous to the very youth they claim to protect,” said Harper Seldin (he/him), staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project. “S.B. 14 is an active threat to the well-being of thousands of families across the state who have already had their lives uprooted by the dangerous and extreme policies targeting them and their transgender youth. We won’t rest until this law is defeated and Texas is a safe place to raise every family.”

“Throughout a difficult legislative session, Texans of all races, genders, and economic backgrounds bravely showed their opposition to a slate of anti-trans legislation, including SB14,” said Lynly Egyes (she/her), legal director of Transgender Law Center. “With this filing, we join those brave advocates in rejecting a powerful, unpopular few who aim to strip away our rights and freedoms. Our demand is clear – we all deserve access to medical care and the freedom to make the right decisions for our families.”

Quotes from LGBTQ+ organizations:

“Every parent in Texas should have the freedom to get their child the health care they need when they need it, whether their child is transgender or not,” said Brian K. Bond (he/him), executive director of PFLAG National. “Yet, because of S.B. 14, PFLAG parents in Texas face a fast-approaching future that eliminates their ability to get their kids medically necessary care, threatening the lives of Texan youth. In every corner of the state, the 18 chapters and nearly 1,500 members of PFLAG rise in objection to this unjust law.”

“In joining this filing, GLMA is issuing a resounding rejection of S.B. 14, recognizing it as an affront to healthcare ethics and the medical evidence that should govern healthcare policies.” said Alex Sheldon (they/them), executive director of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ+ Equality. “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. Today we take a stand against S.B. 14 and all such laws that undermine the fundamental obligation that health professionals have to prioritize patient health above all else.”

Bans like S.B. 14 are opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to the Williams Institute of UCLA, there are an estimated 122,700 trans Texas, of whom about 29,800 are youth between the ages of 13-17.

Any person at risk of being affected by these restrictions should reach out to https://www.lambdalegal.org/helpdesk, https://www.aclutx.org/ en/request-legal-assistance, or https://transgenderlawcenter.org/get-help/.

Read the lawsuit here: https://wp.api.aclu.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/Original-Petition-w-Exhibits.pdf

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