Family Equality Joins 13 Women’s, Healthcare, and Human Rights Organizations in Urging 6th Circuit to Reinstate Block on Transgender Health Bans in TN, KY

The friend-of-the-court brief led by GLAD, NWLC, CSE, and SLC argues bans on access to care for transgender adolescents constitute sex discrimination and are subject to heightened scrutiny, which the laws fail

New York, N.Y. — Last week, Family Equality, the leading national organization for current and future LGBTQ+ families, signed onto an amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit urging reinstatement of the court orders preventing enforcement of transgender healthcare bans for adolescents in Tennessee and Kentucky while the legal challenges to those bans continue. The brief was led by GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), the Campaign for Southern Equality (CSE), and Southern Legal Counsel (SLC).  

The brief argues that Tennessee and Kentucky state laws prohibiting doctors from providing healthcare to transgender adolescents discriminate on the basis of sex, and are therefore subject to heightened judicial scrutiny. These bans target transgender adolescents to deny them care, even when they, their doctors, and their parents agree it is essential for their health. Such laws reflect hostility and serve only to harm young people.

The Sixth Circuit panel’s order allowing the Tennessee and Kentucky bans to go into effect despite pending legal challenges means transgender adolescents can’t get the care they need and their parents are blocked from acting in their children’s best interests.

The Sixth Circuit is an outlier among courts to consider laws denying healthcare access to transgender adolescents. District court judges in seven states to consider such bans, including Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals have found in preliminary proceedings that such bans violate the constitutional rights of transgender people and cause immediate, irreparable harms. A federal judge in Arkansas, the first to issue a final ruling, has now blocked that state’s ban permanently.

The amici are organizations committed to ensuring everyone, including women and LGBTQ+ people, can access the healthcare they need. In addition to GLAD, NWLC, CSE, SLC, and Family Equality, the organizations joining the friend-of-the-court brief are Equality Federation, Human Rights Campaign, Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, National Center for Transgender Equality, OUTMemphis, Southern Poverty Law Center, Tennessee Equality Project, Trevor Project, and White Coats for Trans Youth. The brief was filed by Jenner & Block LLP.

Read the brief here.

About Family Equality

Family Equality advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality believes every LGBTQ+ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live. Learn more at

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