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GLAAD RESPONDS TO COURT RULINGS ON TRANSGENDER HEALTH CARE IN TEXAS, MISSOURI
- Last updated: August 29, 2023
(New York, NY, August 29, 2023) — Today GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) media advocacy organization, issued a response to the news that on Friday, a federal judge out of Missouri denied a preliminary injunction on SB 49, the state’s anti-transgender healthcare ban, meaning the ban is now in effect. Also on Friday, a federal judge in Texas ruled against SB 14, Texas’ ban on health care for transgender youth. The Texas attorney general quickly appealed the decision and the ban is expected still to go into effect, preventing transgender Texans from receiving care beginning September 1.
Missouri’s SB 49 bans health care for transgender youth and for adults who are incarcerated, as well as banning Medicaid from reimbursing costs for transgender health care, including for adults. Texas’ SB 14 bans life-saving health care for transgender youth and criminalizes and revokes medical licenses of any healthcare provider who prescribes such care. It also prohibits any public funding to anyone who provides or “facilitates” this treatment.
The bans are two examples of bans on transgender health care that have passed in approximately 21 states that are either currently in effect or facing legal challenges.
Sarah Kate Ellis (she/her/hers), CEO and President of GLAAD, issued the following statement:
“The confusing patchwork of different laws regarding transgender Americans’ ability to access basic health care is unfair and unsustainable. Access to lifesaving health care is a fundamental right that should not be denied to anyone in America, and especially not to transgender people who already face so much discrimination and violence. The government should stay out of the business of private health care decisions between patients, their families, and their medical providers. Transgender people, like all of us, deserve to find joy and happiness as their authentic selves. We urge lawmakers and politicians to stop playing reckless games with transgender lives.”
PROMO, Missouri’s LGBTQ+ public policy and advocacy organization, issued in part the following statement from Aro Royston (he/him), Board Secretary for PROMO Missouri:
“We are enraged — not only has our government and elected officials failed us, but now our justice system has failed to do its job in protecting the most vulnerable of our population. The courts told the transgender community, parents of gender-expansive youth, and the entire LGBTQ+ community that we do not exist, that we do not have the right to make our own medical decisions or the right to bodily autonomy. There is no categorical ban like this in the world making the actions of the Missouri State Government the most egregious in history.”
Just yesterday, PROMO launched a new story collection initiative on its website in order to highlight transgender Missourians impacted by anti-transgender laws, including the ban on health care and a ban on transgender student participation in sports. Missouri’s transgender sports ban is one of the most severe in the country affecting both transgender boys and girls and public, private, and charter schools, as well as schools who participate in competitions against another team who has a transgender athlete competing. Any school who violates the law risks losing 100% of their state public funding.
Justice Horn (he/him), a Missouri community leader, chair of the City of Kansas City’s LGBTQ+ Commission, and formerly the NCAA’s first out gay multicultural college wrestler, issued the following statement:
“Today is a dark day for civil rights in the state of Missouri. Missouri’s state government has successfully stood in the way of access to life saving care for so many of our community’s youth. They may win this legal battle, but the fight for greater access to gender-affirming care will continue because it has to; our youth deserve nothing less from us.To our community’s trans youth, we’re not going to rest until this injustice is corrected here in Missouri. Know that you’re not alone in this fight—we see you, and we’re going to continue to fight for you.”
Meanwhile in Texas, a ban on access to health care for transgender youth is set to take effect on September 1, which will make it the largest state in the nation to enforce such a ban. A judge ruled against the ban on Friday in a win for transgender Texans and their families but the office of the attorney general has already filed to appeal the decision and allow the ban to take effect as the legal challenge continues in court.
Ricardo Martinez (he/him), CEO of Equality Texas, issued the following statement:
“When we talk about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, it’s no mistake that life comes first. A full and vibrant life starts with a healthy mind and body. Yet, despite having some of the world’s greatest doctors, most advanced medicine, health care will not be available to trans kids in Texas starting Sept. 1. Make no mistake, the care that trans kids receive is no different than care that is widely available to kids who aren’t trans, SB14 only prohibits doctors from serving young trans patients. That’s the definition of discrimination.
“We’re committed to seeing that all young people, including trans youth, have access to health care. To the families that are struggling, trying to figure out your next move, we see you, and we will do everything in our power to support you. That’s why we partnered with the Campaign for Southern Equality and TENT on the Southern Trans Youth Emergency Project. It’s an imperfect solution, and hopefully it’s a temporary one. Our legal partners are continuing to fight, and we are not backing down.”
“The court decision is a critical victory for transgender youth and their families, supporters, and health providers against this blatantly unconstitutional law,” said Brian Klosterboer (he/him), attorney at the ACLU of Texas. “As Texans, we believe that each one of us should have the freedom to be ourselves and have access to best-practice medical care that we need for ourselves and our children without facing cruel discrimination or bullying designed as policy. Trans Texans shouldn’t have to go to court to defend their basic rights, and we will keep advocating for our clients every step of the way.”
Every major medical association and leading world health authority supports health care for transgender people and youth, and more than 30 such organizations have made public statements that can be found here. Federal judges in Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee have all additionally ruled against their states’ respective bans on health care for transgender Americans.
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.
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