Supreme Court to hear case on gender-affirming

Transgender rights for minors will be heard at the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal from the Biden administration seeking to block state bans on gender-affirming care for minors, marking the court’s entrance into the fight over transgender rights.

This action comes as Republican-led states have enacted various restrictions on health care, school sports participation, bathroom usage, and drag shows for transgender individuals, while the administration and Democratic-led states have extended protections for transgender people, including a new federal regulation aimed at safeguarding transgender students.


The big picture: The case before the high court involves a law in Tennessee that restricts puberty blockers and hormone therapy for transgender minors, and the federal appeals court in Cincinnati allowed laws in Tennessee and Kentucky to take effect after they had been blocked by lower courts.

  • Transgender teens in Tennessee, represented by their lawyers, expressed the need for the Court’s prompt intervention, as they remain uncertain about accessing needed medical care.

Driving the news: Last week, South Carolina became the 25th state to adopt a law restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors, despite the availability and endorsement of such treatments by major medical associations.

  • There are ongoing legal battles in various states over transgender rights, including restrictions on transgender individuals in sports competitions and bathroom usage, with the Supreme Court rarely taking up transgender issues.

Flashback: The justices had previously ruled that a landmark civil rights law protects gay, lesbian, and transgender people from discrimination in employment.

  • In 2016, the court had initially agreed to take up the case of a transgender student in Virginia, but dropped the case after a directive allowing students to use the bathroom of their chosen gender was scrapped in the early months of the Trump administration.
  • In 2021, the justices declined to get involved in a related case, with Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas noting they would have taken up the school board’s appeal.
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