In recent years, a considerable majority of states within the American South have taken significant legislative steps by enacting laws that prohibit “gender-affirming care” to individuals under the age of 18. This umbrella term encompasses treatments such as hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and genital reconstructive surgeries.
Gender-affirming treatments, including puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries, are now inaccessible for transgender minors in much of the South because of new laws that heavily restrict or ban such care for youths younger than 18. https://t.co/YuA4rpiUsK
— The Hill (@thehill) August 28, 2023
The legislative provisions primarily involve imposing strict prohibitions on medical practitioners, disallowing them from administering these treatments to minors. Notably, in the states of Florida and Missouri, these restrictions even extend to adults seeking such procedures.
Conversely, the remaining Southern states — South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware — have yet to pass similar legislation. However, it is important to note that Republican representatives within the legislatures of Virginia and South Carolina have initiated proposals mirroring the proposed ban earlier this year.
A similar incident unfolded in Arkansas during 2021, when the state legislature, dominated by the Republican Party, successfully converted a trans ban veto into law. The prominence of the Republican Party in the Southern region has been a key factor contributing to the passage of these measures, much to the frustration of far-left activists.
Logan Casey, a senior policy researcher affiliated with the non-profit Movement Advancement Project, noted, “Many of the states in the South are effectively a single-party government.” This reality has laid the foundation for the Southern region to emerge as an experimental ground for legislative endeavors concerning LGBTQ issues.
Adam Polanski, the director of communications at the liberal Campaign for Southern Equality, further emphasized this sentiment by asserting that the South has historically been a testing ground for anti-LGBTQ legislation.
In an effort to bypass the law and disregard medical advice, families seeking gender-affirming care for their underage children often resort to traveling to regions where these dangerous treatments are permitted. This journey frequently entails traveling long distances, which further increases safety and health risks.
Left-leaning organizations have rallied to provide financial support for these families, aiming to alleviate some of the travel costs. While advocates of gender-affirming procedures have taken legal action seeking to overturn these legislative bans, recent court decisions have largely upheld the states right to enact these regulations.
In a pivotal ruling, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction imposed on Tennessee’s transgender care ban. Most recently, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a year-long injunction imposed on Alabama’s transgender care ban.
In the ruling, a three-judge panel underscored the necessity of scrutinizing the historical context of these risky medical interventions, stating, “The use of these medications in general — let alone for children — almost certainly is not ‘deeply rooted’ in our nation’s history and tradition.”