AUSTIN, Texas — Civil rights organizations were in a Texas district court Tuesday and Wednesday for a hearing in the lawsuit challenging Senate Bill 14, an unconstitutional medical care ban targeting transgender youth.
The law would go into effect on September 1 and ban necessary and life-saving medical care in Texas for the treatment of gender dysphoria for transgender youth and require the state to revoke the medical licenses of physicians who provide the best standard of care to their trans patients.
Attorneys from the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, ACLU, Transgender Legal Center, Lambda Legal, and the law firms of Scott Douglass & McConnico LLP and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP argued in the 53rd Judicial District Court in Austin, Texas.
The representatives for the plaintiffs argued S.B. 14 is unconstitutional because it violates the rights of parents to provide for the care and wellbeing of their children, the rights of transgender young people to not be discriminated against, and the rights of health professionals to practice their professions based on best-practice standards of care. The lawsuit was filed in July on behalf of five Texas families, three medical professionals, and two organizations serving hundreds of families and health professionals across the state.
The five Texas families challenging this law come from diverse backgrounds across the state with transgender children and teenagers who would be irreparably harmed if S.B. 14 goes into effect. The bill’s passage has resulted in families splitting up or planning to leave Texas to continue treatment for their children. The families are suing pseudonymously to protect themselves and their children, who are transgender Texans between the ages of 9 and 16.
Plaintiff PFLAG is the nation’s first and largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and those who love them. Plaintiff GLMA is the oldest and largest association of LGBTQ+ and allied health professionals, including those who treat LGBTQ+ patients.
Quotes from plaintiffs and litigation team:
“Transgender young people know who they are and shouldn’t have to go to court to fight for their right to exist,” said Brian Klosterboer (he/him), staff attorney at the ACLU of Texas. “Our client Nathan Noe, a transgender teen, bravely testified that he is free to live and thrive thanks to the medical care he receives and that S.B. 14 would harm him and countless others if it goes into effect. Parents, physicians, and medical experts also explained how this cruel and unconstitutional law is already causing immense and irreversible harm across our state. Transgender youth belong in Texas, and we will never stop fighting for them to thrive and be who they are.”
“Over the past two days, we presented compelling evidence demonstrating that gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth is safe, effective, and not experimental,” said Paul D. Castillo (he/him), senior counsel, Lambda Legal. “The Court heard from medical and scientific experts who testified about the safety, efficacy and necessity of gender-affirming medical treatment. More importantly, the Court heard from five Texas families with transgender children and teenagers, as well as from Texas doctors, who would be irreparably harmed should S.B. 14 take effect. We are thankful the Court has given us the opportunity to make our case and look forward to its decision.”
“The impending ruling holds significant implications for health care providers in Texas, impeding their ability to provide evidence-based care and prioritize the well-being of their patients,” said Alex Sheldon (they/them), executive director at GLMA. “For as long as this unconstitutional law looms over the state, it will unduly tie the hands of health professionals and further deteriorate the healthcare system in this state. Undeterred by the challenges ahead, we remain resolute in our mission to advocate for the rights of trans youth and health care providers offering gender-affirming care, both in Texas and throughout the nation.”
“Yesterday, we heard from 16-year-old Nathan Noe who shared the freedom he feels when he's seen as the person he knows he is,” said Lynly Egyes (she/her), legal director at Transgender Law Center. “This is why we filed on behalf of trans Texans. No matter our race, genders, or backgrounds we all need safe evidence based care. Trans youth should be able to make decisions about their care with their families and their medical team who know them without the state's interference - like everyone else. We await the decision of the Texas court who has the chance to significantly improve the lives of all people across this state.”
“As I testified this week, every trans kid deserves access safe, medically necessary, scientifically proven gender-affirming care, and PFLAG will continue to support our Texas families as we work to end the harm of this unjust law,” said Brian K. Bond (he/him), CEO of PFLAG National.
"We're so thankful for the testimony of our client families, medical experts who work with trans youth, and, most importantly, trans youth themselves,” said Elizabeth Gill (she/her), senior staff attorney for the ACLU. “S.B. 14 is a direct and targeted threat to the well-being of transgender youth, the constitutional rights of themselves and their families, and the right of medical providers to help trans youth reach the future they deserve. We're hopeful the court will block this law and protect these young people and their families from needless and irreversible harm."
Any person at risk of being affected by these restrictions should reach out to https://www.lambdalegal.org/helpdesk, https://www.aclutx.org/en/request-legal-assistance, or https://transgenderlawcenter.org/get-help/.
Access a fact sheet about the lawsuit here: https://www.aclutx.org/sites/default/files/sb14_factsheet_twopager_1.pdf