Families to Court: Don’t Let Alabama Criminalize Our Trans Kids’ Gender-Affirming Healthcare
Parents, Medical Experts, Faith Groups, and 21 States Urge Appeals Court Not to Reinstate Alabama Law Criminalizing Healthcare for Transgender Youth
Multiple friend-of-the-court briefs filed with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Plaintiffs-Appellees in Rev. Eknes-Tucker v. Marshall
ALABAMA – Parents of transgender children have filed a friend-of-the-court brief asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to uphold the injunction against S.B. 184. The Alabama law, blocked by a federal judge in May 2022, would criminalize doctors and parents for ensuring their transgender children can access necessary medical care. Medical experts, faith groups, and 21 U.S. states also filed briefs urging the Appeals Court to keep the bar on S.B. 184 in place.
The Alabama parents of transgender children described in their brief the importance of being able to seek the best medical advice and care to support their children’s well-being, and how they have seen their children flourish with access to the right care.
Excerpts from the Parents’ brief:
When their children came out to them as transgender, each one of these parents was surprised, scared, and confused. Their very first step was to make sure their child knew that they would never stop loving and supporting them, and then they set out to determine what they needed to do to protect and ensure their child’s health and safety. This included seeking professional medical assistance to determine whether their child was, in fact, suffering from gender dysphoria and, if so, to devise a treatment plan.
Laura and Brian Coe, parents of 15-year-old Matthew (proceeding anonymously)
As much as Matthew has benefitted simply from being accepted and affirmed by his family, school, doctors, and friends, his medical transition is a critical measure for his well-being…Since obtaining the medical care that he needs, Laura and Brian have seen Matthew begin to “come to life.” The Coes would “worry for Matthew’s safety” if there were a disruption to his care. They are “simply trying to support their child and provide him with the best care possible.”
Melissa Soe, parent of 15-year-old Taylor (proceeding anonymously)
Since coming out and receiving care, Taylor has gone from “an anxious, sad kid who had a hard time getting up in the morning, to a kid who is up and out on their bike, in the woods, and going to camp.” Taylor is finally beginning to remind their parents of the happy-go-lucky kid they were when they were younger, prior to puberty taking its toll…” [It is] very important to Taylor to have continuity of care,” which would be disrupted by implementation of [SB 184]. Simply knowing that such care is accessible has significantly decreased Taylor’s distress.
Cynthia Lamar-Hart, parent of Gwendolyn who began receiving transition-related care while an adolescent living in Alabama and is now in her late 20s
Because access to care was not available in Alabama at the time, the family had to travel out-of-state:
[E]ven with the means to afford and make time for out-of-state treatment, Cynthia witnessed how … months of delays in Gwendolyn’s care resulted in suffering that she would not have experienced had she been able to visit a clinic in-state. Cynthia quickly saw a change in Gwendolyn after she began receiving transition-related care. Once Gwendolyn began the process of transitioning, she was no longer withdrawn, and became more confident and engaged socially and at school.
Joining these parents in asking the Court of Appeals to continue blocking enforcement of S.B. 184 are:
- Scientists and clinicians with extensive expertise in the recognized standards of care for adolescents diagnosed with gender dysphoria
The seven scientists/clinicians have more than 57 years of clinical practice and have treated more than 2,100 transgender youth.
- European, Australian, and New Zealand organizations with knowledge of the standards and availability of care in their respective countries
The organizations submitted their brief to provide the court with accurate information about the availability of gender-affirming healthcare in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland, Australia, and New Zealand, confirming that, contrary to the State of Alabama’s arguments, adolescents do have access to appropriate care in their countries.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians (“AAFP”), the American Academy of Nursing (“AAN”), the American Medical Association (“AMA”), the American Pediatric Society (“APS”), and 16 other national and state medical and health organizations
These professional medical and mental health organizations represent thousands of professional healthcare providers with expertise in providing care for youth, including transgender youth. They seek to ensure that all children and adolescents, including those with gender dysphoria, receive the optimal medical and mental healthcare they need and deserve.
- Religious organizations including the Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference Of American Rabbis, and the Southeast Conference of The United Church Of Christ
- Twenty-one U.S. states that have adopted policies protecting access to healthcare and prohibiting discrimination against transgender youth and adults (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington).
- The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for LGBTQ young people.
All friend-of-the-court briefs filed in support of plaintiffs-appellees and other case documents can be found on the case page. Oral argument is scheduled for the week of November 14, 2022 at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Montgomery, Alabama.
The plaintiffs-appellees are represented by Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC, King & Spalding LLP, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), SPLC Action Fund (SPLC), and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).