According to the suit, the law, which was signed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in June, would “ban necessary and life-saving medical care for Texas’s transgender youth, cut off access to care for adolescent minors already receiving treatment, and require the state to revoke the medical licenses of physicians providing the best standard of care to their trans patients.”
The plaintiffs in the case are represented by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, the ACLU, Transgender Law Center, and the law firms Scott Douglass & McConnico LLP and Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, LLP, according to a press release.
Wednesday’s suit was filed in Travis County District Court and seeks a temporary injunction against the law.
Five families, three medical professionals, and two LGBTQ+ rights groups, PFLAG and GLMA, have brought the legal challenge.
The families involved are suing pseudonymously over fears that they and their children, who are transgender, would be targeted. Those children range in age from nine to 16.
“Because my daughter might need puberty blockers in the next few months, I am temporarily relocating out of state with her and my other child. Her father will stay behind to continue working in Texas,” Mary Moe, a plaintiff and the mother of Maeve Moe, a nine-year-old transgender girl, said in the release. “We all intend to return and reunite in our home once it is safe for Maeve to receive this care in the state. I am heartbroken to have to take my children away from their home and their father, even temporarily. But I know that Texas is not a safe place for my daughter if this law forbids her access to this care.”
Sixteen-year-old trans boy Nathan Noe, said, “The idea of growing up as a woman felt so indescribably and inexplicably wrong, and I couldn’t picture myself as a young teenage girl. I was constantly unhappy.” He explained, “Being on testosterone has tremendously improved all aspects of my life. I am now able to focus on all of the positives of my life and experience my teenage years to the fullest. I am able to socialize and balance schoolwork without thinking about my gender all the time. I love Texas. This is my community. This is where my family lives. This is the place I grew up and I do not want to leave it because my government has decided to attack people like me.”
Other plaintiffs worried about the mental health of their children over the law.
“As a parent, I don’t want to see my child suffer and don’t understand why the state government would try to strip away my ability to seek the best possible health care for my child,” Lazaro Loe, who is the father of 12-year-old trans girl Luna. “If S.B. 14 goes into effect and Luna loses access to this health care, I am deeply concerned about the anxiety, depression, and suicidality that she will face. Her happiness, health, autonomy, and independence would be stripped away by this cruel legislation; and we likely would be forced to leave our home here in Texas.”
Representatives from the litigation team said the law went against the Texas state constitution.
“Transgender Texans, like all Texans, have the right to get the medical care they need,” said Brian Klosterboer, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Texas. “The Texas Constitution forbids our state government from overriding the judgment of patients, their families, and their medical providers.”
Klosterboer said the legislation was “a textbook example of discrimination.”
“The attack that Texas legislators and the governor have launched against transgender youth and their families and providers is stunning in its cruelty,” said Paul D. Castillo senior counsel for Lambda Legal. “They are actively ignoring the science, dismissing best-practice medical care, intervening in a parent’s right to care for and love their child, and explicitly exposing trans youth in Texas to rampant discrimination. This law is not just harmful and cruel, it is life-threatening.”
The executive director of the medical professional group GLMA, Alex Sheldon, said, “In joining this filing, GLMA is issuing a resounding rejection of S.B. 14, recognizing it as an affront to healthcare ethics and the medical evidence that should govern healthcare policies.”
They added that under the law, the organization’s members “are forced to make an unthinkable choice: either endanger the health and wellbeing of their transgender patients by abiding by this harmful legislation or violate the law by delivering evidence-based, life-saving care in accordance with their extensive medical training and professional ethics.”
The legal team notes that bans such as S.B. 14 have been opposed by the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The ACLU of Texas notes that, according to research by the Williams Institute of UCLA, there are an estimated 122,700 trans Texas, of whom about 29,800 are youth between the ages of 13-17.
(Photo above is of Brian Klosterboer of the ACLU of Texas.)