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Biden administration takes Tennessee to court over ‘discriminatory’ law banning gender-affirming treatments for kids


“Far from discriminating against transgender youth, the Tennessee law affirms their worth and protects their right not to be forever harmed by ideological and delusional adults. This law should be upheld in court and more states should pass bans on these cruel and unnecessary treatments.”


The Department of Justice has filed suit to stop a Tennessee law banning so-called gender affirming care for those under 18, claiming that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Quick Facts

The DOJ stated that Tennessee’s SB 1 “denies necessary medical care to youth based solely on who they are.” The department further asserts,

“SB 1’s blanket ban prohibits potential treatment options that have been recommended by major medical associations for consideration in limited circumstances in accordance with established and comprehensive guidelines and standards of care. By denying only transgender youth access to these forms of medically necessary care while allowing non-transgender minors access to the same or similar procedures, SB 1 discriminates against transgender youth.”

The Tennessee law states, “A healthcare provider shall not knowingly perform or offer to perform on a minor, or administer or offer to administer to a minor, a medical procedure if the performance or administration of the procedure is for the purpose of:

The law also states that it is not a violation if a healthcare provider provides medical treatment or a medical procedure “to treat a minor’s congenital defect, precocious puberty, disease, or physical injury.”

The law was introduced after journalist Matt Walsh showed that the Vanderbilt University Medical Center was performing gender transition procedures on minors, surgeries that one doctor referred to as “big moneymakers.”

The law was sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson and House Majority Leader William Lamberth, who are both Republicans.

When first introducing the bill, Johnson said,

“I thought it was important that we take the opportunity to get something filed as soon as possible. We love these kids. We want them to get the care that they need. What we don’t want to do though is to do irreparable damage to their bodies that can’t be undone. That’s a decision that should be left to someone who is an adult.”

Lamberth added,

Interfering or destroying the healthy, normal reproductive organs of a child for the purpose of altering their appearance is profoundly unethical and morally wrong. Tennesseans across our state have demanded an immediate call to action. Through the passage of House Bill 1/Senate Bill 1, Tennessee will protect vulnerable children who cannot give informed consent for adult decisions they aren’t ready for.”

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division claimed that the law is discrimination, stating,

“No person should be denied access to necessary medical care just because of their transgender status. The right to consider your health and medically-approved treatment options with your family and doctors is a right that everyone should have, including transgender children, who are especially vulnerable to serious risks of depression, anxiety and suicide.”

The DOJ claims that gender transitions are medically necessary treatments, but other countries, including France, Sweden, Finland, and the U.K., have all recently paused gender transitions in minors based on a growing body of evidence showing the experimental treatments to be harmful. Not only do these studies show that the treatments cause irreparable damage in minors, including infertility, bone loss, and other long-term problems, but medical professionals have been alarmed at the sudden rise in minors seeking gender transitions, including children under the age of four. What’s more, researchers have found that in the large majority of gender incongruence cases in minors, the feeling “does not persist into adolescence.” 

In addition, the warnings of detransitioners over the terrible real-world effects of puberty blockers, hormones, and gender-affirmation procedures have led several states and state agencies, including the Florida Board of Medicine, to ban these treatments for minor children.

The DOJ says it’s bringing this suit because the Tennessee legislature is discriminating against transgender minors by allowing non-transgender children access to the “same or similar procedures.”

The problem is, there are no similar procedures to gender transitions, which use puberty blockers to thwart a normal and healthy puberty or use cross-sex hormones to try to change a person’s sex. The law doesn’t ban transgender minors from using hormones or puberty blockers for precocious puberty, as non-transgender children are allowed to do. It only bans the use of puberty blockers and hormones for purposes they were never meant to be used for, purposes that don’t attempt to correct a true medical malady but instead try to manipulate a healthy person’s body.

Romans 1:25 says,

“For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”

Those who tell children that they are in the wrong bodies, that they are able to change their sex, are making man out to be God. These lies are harming many, and mankind is destroying itself by pushing this misguided belief. These children and teens don’t need hormones or to have their bodies changed, they need to learn that God has made them the biological sex that they are and learn to accept that.

Far from discriminating against transgender youth, the Tennessee law affirms their worth and protects their right not to be forever harmed by ideological and delusional adults. This law should be upheld in court and more states should pass bans on these cruel and unnecessary treatments.

Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.

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