UNITED STATES NEWS

Things to know about the latest court rulings and statehouse action over transgender rights

Jul 13, 2023, 11:33 AM

FILE - Hunter Schafer, of Raleigh, holds a sign supporting transgender youth during a special sessi...

FILE - Hunter Schafer, of Raleigh, holds a sign supporting transgender youth during a special session of the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh, N.C., Dec. 21, 2016. While Republican lawmakers in North Carolina gear up to override vetoes of bills restricting rights of transgender people, courts across the country have been taking opposing stances on similar laws. If the override efforts are successful, the state will join most other GOP-controlled ones in limiting gender-affirming care such as puberty blockers and hormone treatments for minors. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/Ben McKeown, File)

Five transgender children and their families sued Texas this week over a law that would bar transgender care for them and other minors, adding more uncertainty to the fate of policies to curtail the rights of transgender people.

Most GOP-controlled states in the past few years have passed similar laws or others that would keep transgender people from using school bathrooms to match their gender identity or to ban them from some sports teams.

Here’s a look at recent developments and where laws on transgender issues stand.

BANS ON GENDER-AFFIRMING CARE FOR MINORS FACE THE COURTS

The Texas lawsuit filed Wednesday seeks to put on hold a ban on puberty-blocking drugs, hormone treatment and gender-affirming surgeries for minors that’s scheduled to take effect Sept. 1.

The challenge asserts that the law deprives parents of fundamental rights to care for their children, discriminates based on sex and transgender status, and violates the rights of healthcare providers to engage in their occupations.

At least 20 states have limited gender-affirming care for minors; half of those policies are not in effect, primarily because they’re so new they haven’t kicked in yet.

But they’re also facing legal challenges. Since June, federal judges in Kentucky have put the bans on hold while they consider lawsuits filed by families of transgender children.

So far, only one court has issued a ruling favoring a ban.

The 2-1 decision from the Cincinnati-based Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Saturday allowed enforcement of Tennessee’s restrictions to take effect while appeals move ahead. The court said it was aiming to have the case resolved by Sept. 30.

A lower court had put the law on hold last month, just before it was to take effect on July 1. The district judge left in place a ban on gender-affirming surgeries for minors, which are rare. The state government made an emergency appeal.

The ruling means that those under 18 in Tennessee cannot start puberty-blocking drugs or hormone therapies. But under the law, minors already receiving treatments could continue to do so through March 2024.

KANSAS ORDERED TO STOP ALLOWING DRIVER’S LICENSE CHANGES

Kansas must stop allowing transgender people to pair of state court rulings this week.

The rulings come in a legal dispute between the state’s Republican attorney general and Democratic governor on the implications of a new law that took effect this month over the governor’s veto. That new law defines a person’s sex as male or female based on the “biological reproductive system” identified at birth, applying that definition to any state law or regulation.

Gov. Laura Kelly had said the state would continue changing driver’s licenses so the sex listed would match the identity of transgender people, but Attorney General Kris Kobach sued to stop it.

A judge has twice sided with Kobach. In a ruling Wednesday, she declared that the 172 transgender people who rushed in June to change their licenses while they still could created a “public safety concern.”

The ban on license changes is set to expire on July 24, but Judge Teresa Watson indicated she’ll have a heading on whether to extend it past then.

The majority of states allow gender marker changes on driver’s licenses and about half do so on birth certificates, too.

The legal battle in Kansas does not address whether changes can be made to birth certificates, which the state has been modifying since settling a lawsuit in 2019.

WISCONSIN SCHOOL’S BATHROOM POLICY HALTED

A federal judge ruled last week that a Wisconsin school district cannot enforce for now a requirement that transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms that match the sex they were assigned at birth.

The challenge to the policy was filed anonymously by an 11-year-old transgender student and her mother.

The case is not over yet, but the judge indicated that the student’s claims would likely prevail in a trial, so the district must stop enforcing its rule while it’s decided.

The judge cited a similar Wisconsin case from six years ago that blocked bathroom restrictions.

At least two ruled in favor of transgender students in at least two bathroom cases in recent years.

These legal battles all concern school district policy, but at least nine states are currently enforcing restrictions on which bathrooms transgender students can use.

NORTH CAROLINA OVERRIDES EXPECTED

Lawmakers in North Carolina are expected to vote in the next week or so to override Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s vetoes of three measures that would place restrictions on transgender people.

One would bar medical professionals from providing hormone therapy, puberty-blocking drugs and surgical gender-transition procedures to minors starting Aug. 1. Another would restrict transgender students’ participation in school sports. The third would limit classroom discussion on gender identity and sexuality.

All three are versions of bills Republican-controlled states across the U.S. have been adopting lately and at an accelerating pace this year.

At least 22 states have adopted sports restrictions, though enforcement has been put on hold by courts in three of them. At least five have limited teaching on sexuality and gender identity.

restricted abortion access.

United States News

FILE - The hall of historic Waiola Church in Lahaina and nearby Lahaina Hongwanji Mission are engul...

Associated Press

Residents prepare to return to sites of homes demolished in Lahaina wildfire 7 weeks ago

HONOLULU (AP) — From just outside the burn zone in Lahaina, Jes Claydon can see the ruins of the rental home where she lived for 13 years and raised three children. Little remains recognizable beyond the jars of sea glass that stood outside the front door. On Monday, officials will begin lifting restrictions on entry […]

46 minutes ago

Associated Press

Toddler and 2 adults fatally shot in Florida during argument over dog sale, authorities say

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A 3-year-old child and two adults were fatally shot late Saturday at a Florida apartment complex during an apparent dispute over the sale of a dog, authorities said. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Assistant Chief J.D. Stronko told reporters that five people, including the child, had gone to a luxury apartment complex at […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Archbishop Timothy Broglio conducts an Easter Sunday Mass in an empty sanctuary at Basilica ...

Associated Press

Ideological rifts among U.S. bishops are in the spotlight ahead of momentous Vatican meeting

NEW YORK (AP) — Early next month, the Vatican will open an unprecedented gathering of Catholic clergy and laypeople from around the world. The synod is intended to be a collegial, collaborative event, though the agenda includes divisive issues such as the role of women in the church and the inclusion of LGBTQ Catholics. If […]

1 hour ago

Chester Deanes, left, and Ben Phillips hold a photo of the former Pruitt-Igoe housing development i...

Associated Press

Government should pay compensation for secretive Cold War-era testing, St. Louis victims say

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Ben Phillips’ childhood memories include basketball games with friends, and neighbors gathering in the summer shade at their St. Louis housing complex. He also remembers watching men in hazmat suits scurry on the roofs of high-rise buildings as a dense material poured into the air. “I remember the mist,” Phillips, now […]

2 hours ago

FILE - The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, with the U.S. Capitol in the distance, Nov. 4, 2020...

Associated Press

The Supreme Court will hear a case with a lot of ‘buts’ & ‘ifs’ over the meaning of ‘and’

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s hard to imagine a less contentious or more innocent word than “and.” But how to interpret that simple conjunction has prompted a Supreme Court on Oct. 2, the first day of its new term. What the justices decide could affect thousands of prison sentences each year. Federal courts across the country […]

2 hours ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during the U.S.-Pacific Island Country Summit at the State Depart...

Associated Press

Biden to open embassies in Cook Islands, Niue as he welcomes Pacific leaders for Washington summit

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is set to announce the opening of new U.S. embassies on Cook Islands and Niue on Monday as the Democratic administration aims to demonstrate to Pacific Island leaders that it remains committed to increasing American presence in the region. The announcement about the new diplomatic missions in the South […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

re:vitalize

When most diets fail, re:vitalize makes a difference that shows

Staying healthy and losing weight are things many people in Arizona are conscious of, especially during the summer.

...

Mayo Clinic

Game on! Expert sports physicals focused on you

With tryouts quickly approaching, now is the time for parents to schedule physicals for their student-athlete. The Arizona Interscholastic Association requires that all student-athletes must have a physical exam completed before participating in team practices or competition.

...

OCD & Anxiety Treatment Center

5 mental health myths you didn’t know were made up

Helping individuals understand mental health diagnoses like obsessive compulsive spectrum disorder or generalized anxiety disorder isn’t always an easy undertaking. After all, our society tends to spread misconceptions about mental health like wildfire. This is why being mindful about how we talk about mental health is so important. We can either perpetuate misinformation about already […]

Things to know about the latest court rulings and statehouse action over transgender rights