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Tipsheet

Biden Administration Sues Tennessee Over Law Banning Treatment for Trans Minors

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The Department of Justice sued the state of Tennessee on Wednesday over its new law barring transgender treatments for minors, including irreversible surgery and hormone therapy.

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In a statement, the DOJ argued the law violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause and asked for an order preventing the measure from going into effect on July 1, 2023.

SB 1 makes it unlawful to provide or offer to provide certain types of medical care for transgender minors with diagnosed gender dysphoria. SB 1’s blanket ban prohibits potential treatment options that have been recommended by major medical associations for consideration in limited circumstances in accordance with established and comprehensive guidelines and standards of care. By denying only transgender youth access to these forms of medically necessary care while allowing non-transgender minors access to the same or similar procedures, SB 1 discriminates against transgender youth. The department’s complaint alleges that SB 1 violates the Equal Protection Clause by discriminating on the basis of both sex and transgender status. Doctors, parents and anyone else who provides or offers to provide the prohibited care faces the possibility of civil suits for 30 years and other sanctions. (DOJ)

“No person should be denied access to necessary medical care just because of their transgender status,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “The right to consider your health and medically-approved treatment options with your family and doctors is a right that everyone should have, including transgender children, who are especially vulnerable to serious risks of depression, anxiety and suicide. The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department will continue to aggressively challenge all forms of discrimination and unlawful barriers faced by the LGBTQI+ community.”

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In response, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said he welcomed the opportunity to defend the law.

“The federal government has joined the ACLU and an elite New York law firm in attacking a bipartisan law that protects children from irreversible harm,” he said in a statement. “I welcome the opportunity to litigate these issues and vigorously defend Tennessee’s law.”


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