Attorney General Bonta Leads 20 States in Opposing Anti-Transgender Laws in Tennessee, Kentucky

Thursday, August 10, 2023
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OAKLAND – Attorney General Rob Bonta today led a multistate coalition of 20 attorneys general in opposing dangerous laws in Kentucky and Tennessee that severely limit transgender youths' access to critical and lifesaving healthcare. The plaintiffs in L.W. v Skrmetti are suing to block Tennessee’s Senate Bill (SB) 1 and Kentucky’s SB 150, which restrict medical treatment for transgender minors seeking gender-affirming care. Today, the coalition, led by Attorney General Bonta, filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, stressing the importance of gender-affirming care for the health and well-being of transgender youth.
“Gender-affirming care is safe, medically accepted, and empowers transgender people to lead healthier, happier lives,” said Attorney General Bonta. "Blocking access to gender-affirming care only serves to marginalize already vulnerable people and put their lives at risk. Kentucky and Tennessee's laws are part of a growing assault on LGBTQ+ rights nationwide, driven by ignorance, bigotry, and partisan politics. I stand with my partners today in urging the court to strike down these dangerous laws and safeguard transgender people's rights and freedoms."
Many transgender teens suffer from gender dysphoria, which results from the incongruence between gender identity and sex at birth. Gender dysphoria has been found to cause severe distress and anxiety, depression, fatigue, decreased social functioning, overreliance on drugs and alcohol, and a poorer quality of life. Among transgender people, suicide attempts are nine times more common than in the overall U.S. population. Those risks are even higher among transgender youth.
Tennessee’s SB 1 and Kentucky’s SB 150, enacted in March this year, are aimed at blocking transgender minors' access to medical treatment such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers that help treat gender dysphoria.
In their amicus brief today, the coalition supported the plaintiffs' lawsuits seeking to block the enforcement of SB 1 and SB 150, arguing that the laws:

  • Significantly harm the health and lives of transgender people by denying them medically necessary care that protects their physical, emotional, and psychological health.
  • Are discriminatory and violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by singling out medical care for transgender youth while permitting it for cisgender youth.  

Attorney General Bonta continues to build on his ongoing commitment to protecting the rights of transgender individuals. In June, the Attorney General issued the "State of Pride Report" highlighting the California Department of Justice’s recent efforts to support, elevate, and defend the rights of LGBTQ+ communities throughout California and beyond. In May, he led a multistate coalition in supporting a challenge to a Florida rule restricting access to gender-affirming care and joined another multistate coalition defending a Colorado law that prohibits gay and transgender conversion therapy on children and youth. In June, he joined a coalition in support of the Ludlow School Committee’s efforts to create a safe and supportive environment for transgender children and all students.
In filing today’s amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta was joined by the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
A copy of the amicus brief is available here.

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