Two parents and two doctors who work with them filed suit Monday to block Alabama’s new law banning puberty blockers and hormones for transgender youth.
The 36-page lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, argues that the law is discriminatory and could physically and psychologically harm two transgender teenagers listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. These teenagers are currently receiving treatment for gender dysphoria, using puberty blockers and hormones.
“If allowed to go into effect, the law will interrupt these medically necessary treatments, prevent them from obtaining future medically necessary treatments for gender dysphoria, and cause them to suffer irreparable physical and psychological harm,” the lawsuit states.
The suit names Alabama Governor Kay Ivey; Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall; Shelby County District Attorney Jill Lee and Jefferson County District Attorney Danny Carr are charged. Gina Maiola, a spokeswoman for Ivey, wrote in an email Monday morning that the office had not been notified of the lawsuit, but added “we stand ready to stand up for our values and this legislation.”
Messages seeking comment were sent to Marshall, Lee and Carr on Monday morning. Several civil rights groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center; the human rights campaign; the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders work with complainants.
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SB 184, sponsored by Sen. Shay Shelnutt, R-Trussville, makes it a Class C felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for a doctor to prescribe puberty blockers and hormones transgender youth under the age of 19. The law also blocks genital surgeries on minors (except circumcisions), which medical professionals say are not performed in Alabama, and reconstructive surgeries for transgender youth.
Proponents of the bill have suggested that prescribed drugs carry risks.
“It’s about those minors,” Rep. Wes Allen, R-Troy, who brought the bill to the House, said Monday. “Their minds are not fully developed to make these decisions about these drugs and these surgeries.”
Ivey signed the law on Friday. If not blocked, it will come into effect in early May.
After:Governor Kay Ivey signs bills targeting transgender youth in Alabama
The plaintiffs’ families said in the lawsuit that the real harm would be to cut their children off from therapy. The lawsuit names two transgender children as plaintiffs: a 13-year-old girl named Mary Roe and a 17-year-old girl named John Roe. According to the lawsuit, Mary Roe has lived as a girl since she was six years old and began taking puberty blockers in April 2021. The lawsuit says Roe currently keeps her transgender status private at school.
“Without access to puberty-blocking drugs, Mary’s body will produce testosterone and she will begin to develop secondary sex characteristics associated with males,” the lawsuit said. “The changes to Mary’s body – some of which would be permanent or would require surgery to reverse – would make it visible to others that she is a transgender girl and make her feel again the distress she feels at having a body seen by others as incompatible with her feminine identity.”
In a statement, Robert Roe, the father of Mary Roe, said giving their daughter the care she needed transformed her from “reclusive and anxious” to “an engaged and happy child”.
“I was born and raised in Alabama and came back here with my wife to raise our family,” the statement read. “We love this community who have shown us incredible support. But if this law goes into effect, we may be forced to leave the state we call home in order to protect our daughter’s life.”
John Doe, according to the lawsuit, was bullied and harassed at school after coming out as transgender. The lawsuit said Doe underwent hormone treatments after his parents consulted numerous medical professionals and gave their consent.
“Starting testosterone has been amazing for John,” the lawsuit said. “He finally feels more like himself, is gaining confidence and is overall happier. Over the past year and a half, John’s voice has dropped and he has developed facial hair. to feel more comfortable in his body and eased his anxieties of not being treated like a man by others.”
John Doe, according to the lawsuit, uses a binder to hold her breasts and was planning reconstructive surgery to remove the breasts later this year. The law prohibits such transactions.
The lawsuit argues that the new law violates Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits discrimination providers who receive federal assistance under the law from discriminating on the basis of gender. He also argues that the law violates Fourteenth Amendment guarantees of equal protection under the law by allowing doctors to prescribe puberty blockers and hormones to non-transgender youth, and by denying parents due process. who ask for the drugs and the doctors who can recommend them.
Last year, a federal court blocked a similar ban enacted in Arkansas. The US Department of Justice has sent a letter to various state attorneys general warning them that it considers bills targeting transgender youth a violation of the US Constitution.
Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Brian Lyman at 334-240-0185 or [email protected]