Maryland Attorney General Supports Ruling Blocking Idaho’s Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Youth

The Maryland Attorney General’s Office issued the following news released on Thursday, March 14:
Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown has joined a coalition of 19 attorneys general in opposing a state law in Idaho that blocks the ability of transgender
youth to access critical, lifesaving gender-affirming care.

The plaintiffs in Poe v. Labrador, two transgender minors and their parents, sued to block Idaho’s House Bill (HB) 71, which criminalizes medical treatment for transgender minors seeking gender-affirming care. After a federal district court blocked HB 71 from going into effect, Idaho appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Today, Attorney General Brown and the coalition filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs, arguing that Idaho’s ban on gender-affirming care violates equal protection and stressing the importance of gender-affirming care for the health and wellbeing of transgender youth.

“Access to gender-affirming care reduces depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations, and helps transgender youth survive adolescence and successfully transition into adulthood,” said Attorney
General Brown. “I will always champion the rights of all Marylanders to live a healthy and productive life.”

Many transgender teens suffer from gender dysphoria, which occurs when sex assigned at birth does not align with a person’s gender identity. 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.
Enacted in April 2023, Idaho’s HB 71 blocks transgender youth’s access to medical treatment such as hormone therapy and puberty blockers that help treat gender dysphoria. Medical providers who violate HB 71 are guilty of a felony and face up to 10 years in prison.

In today’s brief, the coalition supports the court’s issuance of a preliminary injunction against HB 71, arguing that the law:
• Significantly harms the health and lives of transgender people by denying them medically necessary care that protects their physical, emotional, and psychological health;
• Is discriminatory and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by banning medical treatment for transgender youth while permitting it for cisgender youth; and
• Fails to recognize how inclusive laws and policies have benefited transgender individuals.

In filing the brief, Attorney General Brown joined the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan,
Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington.

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https://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov/press/2024/031424.pdf

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