Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Federal judge temporarily blocks Arkansas ban on gender-affirming care for transgender youth

In what hopefully will be a preview of what's to come, a federal judge temporarily blocked an Arkansas law banning gender-affirming care for trans youth.

From Time magazine:

A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked an Arkansas law that would have banned transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming health care while a lawsuit challenging the law’s constitutionality proceeds. The law would have gone into effect on July 28. In April, Arkansas became the first state in the U.S. to approve a ban that would prevent doctors from providing gender-affirming care—including hormone treatment and puberty blockers—to patients under 18. The law would also prevent doctors from referring patients to other physicians who provide gender-affirming treatment. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit in May on behalf of four transgender children, their families and two doctors challenging the ban, arguing it violates the Constitution and threatens the well-being of trans youth. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Kay Moody in Little Rock, Ark., placed a preliminary injunction on the law’s enforcement while the case moves through the legal system.

The Arkansas law is part of a coordinated legislative act across the nation targeting trans youth.  Republican-led state legislatures have attempted to enacted laws outlawing gender-affirming care for these youth while falsely claiming that they are trying to keep them safe. 

But to trans youth, these bills and laws are having the opposite effect:

“This is who I am, and it’s frustrating to know that a place I’ve lived all my life is treating me like they don’t want me here,” said 15-year-old Dylan Brandt, one the plaintiffs, in a statement when the suit was filed in May. Should the law go into effect, Brandt will lose access to the gender-affirming treatment he’s received for nearly a year. “Having access to care means I’m able to be myself, and be healthier and more confident—physically and mentally,” Brandt said. “The thought of having that wrenched away and going back to how I was before is devastating.” 

According to NBC News

Brandt's mom, Joanna Brandt, spoke on behalf of the parents involved in the suit. "We have seen the benefits of this health care firsthand," she said during the news conference. "Our children were suffering, and with this care they have a level of hope and happiness we've never seen. We are no different than any other parent in Arkansas. We love our kids and we want them to grow up healthy, loved and safe." Joanna Brandt said the law "ignores" what medical professionals say about gender-affirming care. Major medical associations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association and the Endocrine Society, among others, support access to gender-affirming care for transgender minors.

Arkansas Gov Asa Hutchinson vetoed the bill when it was passed, calling it "government overreach." However, his vetoed was overriden by the legislature. 

Lastly, according to NBC News:

During Wednesday's news conference, Chase Strangio, an attorney with the ACLU, noted that the group has recently had success in a number of states where measures targeting trans people were blocked by judges pending litigation. Earlier this month, a federal judge in Tennessee blocked a law that required businesses to post a notice if they allow transgender people to use bathrooms that match their gender identity. Last year, a federal judge in Idaho also blocked a law that would've banned transgender girls from playing on girls' sports teams in middle and high school and college.

'Barriers exist for LGBTQ people as both foster parents and foster children' & other Wed midday news briefs

Barriers exist for LGBTQ people as both foster parents and foster children - Yep. 

Olympic swimmer Markus Thormeyer performed at his peak after coming out as gay - Because he didn't have to deal with the stress of being closeted.