Photo: Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kristen Clarke Photo Credit: Kristen Clarke / Facebook
The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
The federal government is suing the state of Tennessee to stop a new law that prohibits doctors from prescribing puberty blockers or cross sex hormones to minors, and prevents gender surgeries before the age of majority.
Tennessee’s law protects children from life altering medical consequences, but the Department of Justice (DOJ) claims the law violates the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment of the Constitution, discriminating due to sex and transgender status.
In a statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney General Kristen Clarke said in a statement that “no person should be denied access to necessary medical care because of their transgender status.” Clarke sent a letter to state general attorneys all across the country last month warning them about such discrimination.
The case has been assigned to President Trump appointee U.S. District Judge Eli Richardson. Another Trump appointee, U.S. District Judge Thomas L. Parker blocked a law protecting minors from sexualized drag shows last month.
Governor Bill Lee, who called the lawsuit “federal overreach at its worst,” said in a statement that “Tennessee is committed to protecting children from permanent, life-altering decisions.”
The American Civil Liberties Union is also suing the state on behalf of three families, one of which is a Memphis doctor in the business of providing “gender-affirming” care.
The U.S. Government’s position comes at a time when countries on the forefront of transgender medicine, such as England, Sweden, and Finland are overhauling the model of care for children with gender dysphoria. There is little evidence that prescribing hormones for gender-dysphoric youth truly helps in the long run. Reports of youth changing their minds and detransitioning, or regretting making decisions to change their gender are on the rise.
The world’s largest pediatric gender clinic, the Gender Identity Development Service in London, also known as Tavistock, is closing after an independent review found that treatment left the young people who had been in the clinic’s care “at considerable risk” for poor mental health outcomes.
A psychoanalytic psychotherapist who worked at Tavistock for a decade, and said that closing the clinic was the right thing to do, cited a 2021 report from the University of Toronto that found that almost 90% of people who experienced gender dysphoria in childhood later changed their minds and “desisted.”
In addition, over a third of youth who identify as trans are autistic, prompting the need for care that encompasses the whole person including mental health support.
The state now finds itself having to push back in court to stand up for Tennessee’s children.
Legislation that would have created a process by which the state could nullify actions taken by the federal government died in a Senate committee during this year’s legislative session. The “Restoring State Sovereignty Through Nullification Act” sponsored by Representative Bud Hulsey (R-Kingsport-District 2) in the House and Senator Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma-District 16) in the Senate would have pushed back against instances of federal overreach.
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at firstname.lastname@example.org.