Families are suing over a Georgia law restricting gender-based care for transgender youth

Four families have filed lawsuits challenging a Georgia law that restricts gender-sensitive care for transgender youth, saying it violates parental rights and equal rights guarantees.

The families filed complaints on Thursday, asking a judge to issue an injunction to prevent the ban from going into effect, which is due on Saturday.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed legislation in March to ban minors from receiving hormone replacement therapy and sex reassignment surgery at licensed health facilities to treat gender dysphoria. The law calls for a “wait and see approach” to providing counseling for transgender children and “allowing the child time to mature and develop their own identity.”

Medical providers could lose their license if they break the law.

The lawsuit, which was filed by plaintiffs whose names are being anonymous for their own safety, argues that the ban violates parents’ right to make medical decisions for the health and well-being of their children and prevents them from having a to receive appropriate medical treatment for their children with gender dysphoria.

Plaintiffs also argue that denying transgender youth “essential and often life-saving” medical treatment because of their sex and gender status violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection.

“Defendants fail to establish any rationale, let alone material or compelling basis for the health ban preventing transgender youth from receiving safe, established and necessary medical care,” the complaint reads.

A resource organization that supports parents and caregivers of transgender youth, TransParent, along with parents of transgender children, also joined the lawsuit.

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Beth Littrell, the senior supervisory attorney for LGBTQ rights and special procedures at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in a press release that the ban on “necessary medical care is just plain cruel.” The center is representing the plaintiffs along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, the Human Rights Foundation and the law firm O’Melveny & Myers.

“The health ban impairs parents’ ability to make decisions in their children’s best interests, disregards the collective knowledge of the medical community, and condemns children to years of suffering,” Littrell said. “Laws like these are based on prejudice, misinformation and artificial fear and are as untenable as they are unconstitutional.”

The press release said similar bans have been blocked in half a dozen states: Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida.

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