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Judge rules against Texas’ ban on gender-affirming care for minors

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A district judge issued a temporary injunction on Texas’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors last Friday. However, the Texas attorney general’s office has filed an appeal with the state’s conservative Supreme Court, allowing the ban to go into effect starting September 1.

The law threatens to revoke the medical licenses of any medical professionals who help minors access puberty blockers, hormone replacement therapy, and surgeries, even though gender-affirming surgeries aren’t typically conducted on trans youth.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the ban on behalf of five families with transgender children and three doctors who provide gender-affirming care.

In her decision, District Judge Maria Cantú Hexsel wrote, “The loss of access to safe, effective, and medically necessary treatment for transgender adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria.”

She also said that the state law “likely violates” parts of the Texas constitution, including “the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children,” CNN reported.

Responding to the decision, Alex Sheldon, executive director of Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, one of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, wrote, “We are invigorated by the court’s decision to protect and uphold the rights of trans youth, their families, and health care providers in Texas.”

However, in a statement issued Friday, the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) announced that it had filed an appeal with the state’s supreme court, effectively blocking Judge Hexsel’s injunction.

Paxton’s office called gender-affirming care “experimental” and “mutilative,” echoing transphobic right-wing rhetoric even though gender-affirming care methods have been safely used for decades and are considered essential and life-saving by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and other major U.S. and world health organizations.

At least 22 states have laws banning or restricting gender-affirming care for minors. Judges have ruled against such bans in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Lawsuits have also been filed against similar bans in Kentucky, Nebraska, and Tennessee.

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