Judges Block Bans On Transgender Health Care And Sports

Written by SK Ashby

Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country have passed a number of anti-transgender bills in recent weeks and months including several bans on transgender health care for minors, but those laws are now meeting the reality of the courtroom.

Federal judges in both Arkansas and West Virginia have now blocked bans on transgender health care and participation in youth sports respectively.

In the former case, the judge wrote that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is likely to succeed in their challenge of the law's constitutionality. And in the latter case, another judge strongly implied that a ban on transgender participation in sports violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The law, which was to take effect July 28, also banned doctors from referring the minors to other providers for such treatment.

U.S. District Judge Jay Moody found that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed with their challenge and that allowing it to be enforced would hurt transgender youth currently receiving the treatments.

“To pull this care midstream from these patients, or minors, would cause irreparable harm,” Moody said. [...]

Moody’s ruling came the same day a federal judge issued an injunction preventing West Virginia from enforcing its transgender athletes restriction on an 11-year-old trans girl who had hoped to compete in middle school cross country.

Becky Pepper-Jackson said she comes from a family of runners and simply wants to compete with her classmates.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Goodwin said in his order that it was in the public interest to uphold the girl’s constitutional right to not be treated differently than her peers “because any harm to (her) personal rights is a harm to the share of American rights that we all hold collectively.”

The fact that these bans are being passed into law sends a terrible message to transgender kids who need all the support they can get, but I am relatively confident that all of them will be struck down.

It's very easy for Republican lawmakers to make fantastical claims about transgender people and write laws in response to their own ignorant claims, but defending those laws in court is another matter. Defending a law in court requires actual evidence that simply does not exist in these cases and, even if it did, it would have to be extraordinary to justify curtailing the civil rights of an entire class of people.

While I am confident that transgender rights are here to stay and expand, the truth is these laws still make me want to literally fight someone. Attacking transgender adults is harmful and unnecessary, but attacking transgender kids is absolutely cruel. Lawmakers who take time out of their bi-annual legislative sessions just to ban transgender kids from existing are wicked and damned.