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Note - Trans Rights Are Human Rights: Protecting Trans Minors' Right to Gender-Affirming Care


Children and adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria often feel extreme distress associated with feelings of gender incongruence between their internal gender identity and their gender assigned at birth. Current medical recommendations overwhelmingly support an individualized, multi-disciplinary approach of gender-affirming care for minors, with options including prepubertal social transition, pubertal hormone suppression, and eventual cross-sex gender-affirming hormones and gender-affirming surgical interventions. Despite broad consensus regarding this standard of medical treatment, Republican lawmakers in multiple states have proposed legislation that threaten to prohibit transgender minors from accessing gender-affirming care, even with parental consent. These prohibitions would cause severe emotional harm to transgender children and would likely cause children with intense feelings of gender dysphoria to suffer from increased anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, and potential self-harm.

This Note argues that Republican attempts to pass legislation preventing or prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors are not based in concern for children, but a continuation of conservative animus against the transgender community. This Note also argues that the proposed legislation is unconstitutional in violation of both the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. The proposed legislation violates the Equal Protection Clause because it discriminates on the basis of sex by way of gender stereotyping and gender identity; it violates the Due Process Clause by stifling fundamental rights of gender autonomy and parental rights to direct the care of minors.