¡Que Onda Magazine!

Houston's oldest bilingual publication

Supreme Court to decide fate on state bans on gender-affirming care following appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from the Biden administration aimed at blocking state bans on gender-affirming care, marking a significant move in the ongoing battle over transgender rights.

The appeal addresses a Tennessee law that restricts puberty blockers and hormone therapy for transgender minors. The federal appeals court in Cincinnati had allowed laws in Tennessee and Kentucky to proceed after they were initially blocked by lower courts.

However, the Supreme Court has not yet taken action on a separate appeal from Kentucky.

Republican-led states have recently imposed various restrictions on transgender individuals, affecting healthcare, sports participation, bathroom access, and drag shows. In contrast, the Biden administration and Democratic-led states have been working to extend protections, including a new federal regulation aimed at safeguarding transgender students.

Lawyers representing transgender teens in Tennessee have urged the Supreme Court for prompt intervention, arguing that without it, transgender youth and their families will face uncertainty about accessing necessary medical care.

Among those supporting the Supreme Court review is actor Elliot Page, who, along with 56 other transgender individuals, has joined a legal filing in favor of the appeal.

Arguments in the case are scheduled for the fall. The decision comes as South Carolina recently became the 25th state to implement a law restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. Despite these treatments being available in the U.S. for over a decade and endorsed by major medical associations, many state restrictions are currently facing legal challenges. The Supreme Court had previously allowed Idaho to enforce its restrictions following a lower court block.

Currently, 24 states have laws preventing transgender women and girls from participating in certain women’s or girls’ sports competitions. Additionally, 11 states have enacted laws barring transgender girls and women from using girls’ and women’s bathrooms in public schools and some government facilities.

The Supreme Court has infrequently addressed transgender issues. In a landmark 2020 decision, the Court ruled that a civil rights law protects gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals from employment discrimination.

Earlier, in 2016, the Court agreed to hear a case involving a transgender student barred from using the boys’ bathroom in his Virginia high school, supported by the Obama administration. However, the case was dropped after a directive allowing students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity was rescinded during the Trump administration.

The directive had influenced an appeals court ruling in favor of the student, Gavin Grimm.

In 2021, the justices declined to intervene in Grimm’s case after the appeals court ruled in his favor again, with Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas expressing they would have heard the school board’s appeal.