Transgender Youth in Tennessee Have Hit a Barrier When It Comes to Accessing Certain Healthcare Services

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A legislation was signed today banning transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming care in Tennessee by Gov. Bill Lee. The bill prohibits the minors from receiving altering surgeries and hormone treatments.

A legislation was signed today banning transgender minors from receiving gender-affirming care in Tennessee by Gov. Bill Lee. The bill prohibits the minors from receiving altering surgeries and hormone treatments.

Lee also signed a second law restricting drag shows from taking place in public or in front of children.

Tennessee is just another state where lawmakers introduced legislation attacking gender-affirming medical care for young people, although these services have been available in the U.S. for more than a decade.

Outside of surgeries, the legislation signed by Lee bans medications such as puberty blockers and hormone treatments to treat any underlying gender dysphoria cause. This will affect minors 18 and under who identify as transgender and nonbinary.

However, minors who receive these services prior to July 1, 2023 can continue to be treated by doctors until March 31, 2024. Minors who have not received this specific care may not do so after the July date.

According to CBS, Democratic Rep. Gloria Johnson referenced Tennessee's abortion ban that went into affect last year, before Thursday's legislation was voted on.

"We have taken away a woman's right to determine her health care and her health outcomes — and now we've gone to children," she said. "If a doctor and a family feels that taking hormone blockers is going to be healthy and productive and life-saving for these children, that's a decision that should be made."

Other civil organizations such as Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the ACLU of Tennessee, who are against the legislation shared their thoughts on the decision in a joint response.

“We will not allow this dangerous law to stand. Certain politicians and Governor Lee have made no secret of their intent to discriminate against youth who are transgender or their willful ignorance about the life-saving health care they seek to ban," they said. "Instead, they’ve chosen fearmongering, misrepresentations, intimidation and extremist politics over the rights of families and the lives of transgender youth in Tennessee.

We are dedicated to overturning this unconstitutional law and are confident the state will find itself completely incapable of defending it in court. We want transgender youth to know they are not alone and this fight is not over.”

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