Parents of Alabama trans youth express relief as federal court drops ‘brutal law’

Alabama’s families, LGBT+ supporters and health care providers breathe a sigh of relief after a federal judge partially blocked enforcement of a recently passed state law in Alabama that criminalizes gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

U.S. District Court Judge Liles C Burke, appointed by Donald Trump, has issued a preliminary order to end state bans such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers for transgender people under the age of 19. The court issued a state restraining order. Felony – Violates the constitutional rights of transgender children and their parents.

According to Judge Burke, families have “a fundamental right to direct their children’s medical care.” “This right includes a more specific right to treat your child by switching medications on a medically acceptable basis.”

The state has not presented “reliable evidence” in its claim that the treatment is “experimental” in justifying prohibiting it. [and] It’s not very convincing,” said Judge Burke.

Among several families with transgender children, the plaintiff, identified as James Zoe, father of 13-year-old Zachary from Birmingham, said he took part in a legal complaint against state law, anonymously. With the health care he needs, there can be no greater or greater relief to our family than this.”

In a statement released through the Human Rights Campaign, he said, “Alabama is our home and we hope that this brutal law will not force us. “We are fighting for our children and we will continue to fight to ensure that children and all transgender youth in Alabama have access to adequate health care.”

Judge Burke issued a partial injunction after finding that the state’s law, which went into effect last week, poses “imminent threat of harm” to the plaintiff, including “serious physical and/or mental harm”.

“The evidence to the contrary is at least [22] America’s leading medical associations support drug switching as well as proven evidence-based treatments for gender dysphoria in minors,” said Judge Burke.

According to Jennifer Levi, director of the Transgender Rights Project at GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, the ruling “will continue to empower parents of transgender children in Alabama to make the best health care decisions for their families.”

“It’s a special relief. “Parents should not be punished for doing the best for their children.”

Jeff Walker, a family member of the plaintiff in the case, told The Associated Press that the ruling “put a lot of pressure on our shoulders.”

Their 15-year-old daughter Harleigh said the decision was “a great stress reliever” as the family decided whether to move to another state to continue taking care of them.

However, the judge’s ruling allows doctors to retain other provisions of state law, including a ban on sex-checking operations on minors who have repeatedly testified by doctors.

Judge Burke also put in place a requirement for counselors and other school officials to tell parents whether their children identify themselves as transgender.

Alabama father Jeff Walker and daughter Harleigh are among the plaintiffs in a lawsuit banning gender-affirmed treatment under state law.


Leading medical groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, have repeatedly opposed similar laws, arguing that patients and families deny access to comprehensive, evidence-based care and risk stigmatizing already vulnerable young people. . Higher risk of suicide.

The wave of anti-LGBT+ legislation in 2022 was aimed primarily at health care for transgender youth and whether transgender athletes could participate in school sports.

The U.S. Department of Justice also joined the challenge of the Alabama law, in a complaint issued on April 29, claiming that the law “discriminates transgender minors by unfairly denying them access to certain forms of medically necessary treatment.” .

Alabama Governor Kay Ivy, who signed the bill last month, said he would appeal the ruling.

“Despite this temporary legal hurdle, the state will continue to fight to protect Alabama’s children from these radical, unproven, life-changing drugs,” she said in a May 14 statement.

Asaf Orr, senior attorney and director of the Transgender Youth Project at the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said, “We must not criminalize parents and doctors for following medical guidelines and providing necessary care.”

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