This week, a long-awaited victory for kids seeking gender-affirming care and their families has been won. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Boise, ruled that the state cannot enforce a law banning gender-affirming care, siding with parents of transgender kids who challenged the law.Gender-affirming care includes such treatments as hormone therapy and puberty blockers. According to major medical associations, such as the American Medical Association (AMA), American Psychiatric Association (APA), and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), it is medically necessary, evidence-based, and can be life-saving. Interventions used in this kind of care can assist a person in moving from their assigned gender—given at birth—to their affirmed gender, but they are among the many kinds of care that can support the social, behavioral, and psychological needs of a transgender person.In the preliminary order, the judge wrote that the ruling was made in alignment with the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. “Transgender children should receive equal treatment under the law,” Judge B. Lynn Winmill wrote. “Parents should have the right to make the most fundamental decisions about how to care for their children.”
In a statement, a lawyer for the plaintiffs expressed gratitude that the judge sought to uphold the rights of transgender children in the state. “We’re thankful the court saw the danger this law represented to our clients, and we’re determined to fight this ban until Idaho is a safe place to raise every family,” Li Nowlin-Sohl of the American Civil Liberties Union said.
The state of Idaho passed the law banning gender-affirming treatment in April. It was to take effect on January 1, 2024, and would’ve made it a felony to provide this kind of care to minors. It is one of about 20 Republican-led states that have banned or restricted gender-affirming treatments. In August, an Alabama ban on gender-affirming care was upheld, and the same ruling took place in both Kentucky and Tennessee in September. In 2022, a ban on gender-affirming care was blocked in Arkansas.
Idaho Attorney General Raul Labrador expressed the opposite sentiment in a statement that said the ruling “places children at risk of irreversible harm.” He indicated that he plans to appeal the decision.