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Judge temporarily halts part of Kentucky law that bans gender-affirming care for trans youth

A gavel sits in a courtroom.
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Kentucky's Senate Bill 150 was set to take effect Thursday.

Senate Bill 150, which bans gender-affirming medical care for patients under 18 years old, was set to take effect Thursday.

If you’re looking for transgender peer support, you can reach the Transgender Wellness Coalition online at transwellnesscoalition.org. You can also contact the Trevor Project, which provides free, confidential counselors who specialize in helping LGBTQ youth.

A federal judge has temporarily blocked part of Kentucky’s Senate Bill 150, which bans gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

SB 150 prohibits doctors from providing hormone therapy, including estrogen or testosterone treatment and medication that delays puberty, to patients under 18 years old. That portion of the law was set to take effect Thursday.

In his order issuing the injunction Wednesday, U.S. District Judge David Hale said the plaintiffs showed a “strong likelihood” of succeeding on a constitutional challenge to the law.

The ACLU of Kentucky sued in federal court, alongside several families of trans children, in early May. They contend SB 150 violates the U.S. Constitution’s due process and equal protection clauses.

Gender-affirming care encompasses a spectrum of mental health and medical services — including, for some minors, hormone therapy. Major medical associations say it should remain accessible to trans youth.

It’s already hard for trans minors and adults to access gender-affirming medical treatments.

Experts say the decision for a trans person under 18 years old to receive hormone therapy is reached through careful consultations between the child, their parents and their health care providers. And they say it’s quite rare for a minor to get any form of gender-affirming surgery.

SB 150 also placed restrictions on public schools that negatively affect trans students, including preventing them from using bathrooms that correspond with their gender, allowing teachers to misgender them and limiting speech about gender and sexuality in classrooms.

Those parts of the law went into effect in March, right after the Kentucky Legislature voted to override Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto of the proposal.

A federal judge partially blocked a similar law banning gender-affirming care in Indiana early this month.

This story may be updated.

Support for this story was provided in part by the Jewish Heritage Fund.

John, News Editor for LPM, is a corps member with Report For America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Email John at jboyle@lpm.org.
Morgan is LPM's health reporter. Email Morgan at mwatkins@lpm.org.

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