Chicago – Attorney General Kwame Raoul is opposing a state law in Oklahoma that severely limits the ability of transgender youth to access critical, lifesaving gender-affirming care. Raoul, along with a coalition of attorneys general, filed an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs in Poe v. Drummond, who are suing to block Oklahoma’s Senate Bill (SB) 613, which restricts medical treatment for transgender minors seeking gender-affirming care.
The plaintiffs filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit after the district court denied their motion for a preliminary injunction against SB 613. Today, Raoul and the coalition filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, arguing that Oklahoma’s ban on gender-affirming care is discriminatory and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by banning medical treatment for transgender youth based on their gender identity.
“Denying transgender people the gender-affirming care they need has significant impacts on their physical and mental health. For transgender youth, access to gender-affirming care can be lifesaving,” Raoul said. “I am committed to opposing discriminatory policies that limit access to critical gender-affirming care and jeopardize the well-being of transgender youth.”
Many transgender teens suffer from gender dysphoria, which results from the incongruence between their gender identity and sex assigned at birth. Gender dysphoria has been found to cause severe distress and anxiety, depression, fatigue, decreased social functioning, substance misuse, and a poorer quality of life. Among transgender people, suicide attempts are nine times more common than in the overall U.S. population. Those risks are even higher among transgender youth.
Oklahoma’s SB 613 seeks to block transgender youth’s access to medical treatments such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers that help treat gender dysphoria. In their amicus brief, Raoul and the attorneys general stress the importance of gender-affirming care for the health and well-being of transgender youth. They also argue that the law does not satisfy heightened scrutiny because a complete ban on medically-necessary health care is not substantially related to Oklahoma’s asserted interests.
Joining Attorney General Raoul in filing today’s amicus brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.