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PA Joins Coalition Opposing “Anti-Transgender” Laws in Tennessee and Kentucky

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Pennsylvania has taken a significant stance on a national issue by joining a coalition of 20 states led by California Attorney General Rob Bonta. The coalition opposes laws in Tennessee and Kentucky that they characterize as “anti-transgender.” These laws prevent children from accessing medical procedures that would allow them to live with a gender identity different from what’s listed on their birth certificates, including puberty-blocking hormones and gender-affirming surgeries.

In an amicus brief related to the case, L.W. v Skrmetti, which consolidates lawsuits against Tennessee’s SB 1 and Kentucky’s SB 150, the coalition states that the laws “single out transgender minors for discriminatory treatment.”

Attorney General Bonta expressed, “Gender-affirming care is safe, medically accepted, and empowers transgender people to lead healthier, happier lives. Blocking access to this care only serves to marginalize an already vulnerable group.” He emphasized that laws like those in Tennessee and Kentucky are reflective of a larger trend threatening LGBTQ+ rights across the country.

Although a federal district judge initially issued an injunction against SB 1, it was later lifted by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, the case, combined with another one against a similar Kentucky law, is awaiting a decision from the same court.

The coalition, which includes states like Pennsylvania, Colorado, New York, and Massachusetts, argues that these laws inflict significant harm on transgender teenagers. Their claim is supported by a 2020 study which found that teenagers who access gender-affirming treatment later in puberty have a heightened risk of depression and anxiety compared to those who undergo treatment earlier.

However, those in favor of the ban point to potential health risks, lack of scientific evidence, and potential long-term consequences as reasons to uphold the laws.

The decision of states like Pennsylvania to join this coalition indicates a broader move towards safeguarding transgender rights at the national level.

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Timothy S. Barrick 1959-2024

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