Tennessee’s ban on sex-change treatments for minors violates the Equal Protection Clause, the DOJ said in a statement. The law discriminates against “transgender youth” diagnosed with gender dysphoria, blocking sex-change treatments for them “while allowing non-transgender minors access to the same or similar procedures.”
“No person should be denied access to necessary medical care just because of their transgender status,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke, who leads the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division. “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 Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department will continue to aggressively challenge all forms of discrimination and unlawful barriers faced by the LGBTQI+ community.”
Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee hit back at President Joe Biden’s DOJ in a statement to The Daily Wire: “Tennessee is committed to protecting children from permanent, life altering decisions. This is federal overreach at its worst, and we will work with Attorney General Skrmetti to push back in court and stand up for children.”
Lee signed the bill into law in March, but it is not scheduled to take effect until July. After July 1, it will bar doctors from giving patients puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and transgender surgery if they are under the age of 18. The bill received bipartisan support in the state legislature.
“These children do not need these medical procedures to be able to flourish as adults,” said House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R) at the time. “They need mental health treatment. They need love and support, and many of them need to be able to grow up to become the individuals that they were intended to be.”
In conjunction with the law banning sex-change treatment and procedures, Lee also signed the first state ban on holding sexually explicit drag shows in public or in an area where children could see them. Violators would be hit with a misdemeanor, while repeat violators may be charged with a felony.
“The bill defines an ‘adult cabaret performance’ to mean a performance in a location other than an adult cabaret that features topless dancers, go-go dancers, exotic dancers, strippers, male or female impersonators who provide entertainment that appeals to prurient interest, or similar entertainers, regardless of whether or not performed for consideration,” according to the bill’s summary.