Transgender youth in Tennessee will not be able to access gender-affirming care for the foreseeable future.
A federal court ruled late Thursday that a state law banning treatments like puberty blockers and hormone therapy will stay in effect as a legal challenge to the ban continues.
In its ruling, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals cited Dobbs v. Jackson, which ended the federal right to abortion, arguing that the law does not discriminate on the basis of sex.
The court acknowledged that gender dysphoria causes transgender kids real stress, but wrote: “This is a relatively new diagnosis with ever-shifting approaches to care over the last decade or two. Under these circumstances, it is difficult for anyone to be sure about predicting the long-term consequences of abandoning age limits of any sort for these treatments.”
The decision reverses a lower court ruling. Hours after a federal judge temporarily blocked the law, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti issued an emergency appeal to the Sixth Circuit. He calls this ruling a “win for democracy.”
The ACLU of Tennessee and Lambda Legal say that this law has caused — and will continue to cause — serious harm.
Similar bans being considered in other states within the Sixth Circuit’s jurisdiction will also have a clearer path forward now. That worries plaintiff Samantha Williams, who had been looking into crossing state borders to get care for her trans daughter.
“The two states where we were looking to go for care, if the injunction wasn’t granted, now have bills of their own, which means we have to go even further,” Williams told WPLN News.
The ruling puts the issue of gender-affirming care one step closer to the Supreme Court, as states in other federal districts have blocked similar bans from taking effect.