The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tennessee Bans Gender-Affirming Care for Transgender Youth


Taking away the freedom of families of transgender youth to seek critical health care, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed into law today a ban on all forms of gender-affirming care for transgender people under 18 — putting the government in charge of making vital decisions traditionally reserved to parents in Tennessee. The law takes effect on July 1, 2023.

Under the new law, trans youth already receiving gender-affirming health care as of July 1, 2023 will be forced to lose access to such care after March 31, 2024, in Tennessee. Youth not receiving medical care by July 1, 2023 will be unable to begin receiving care in Tennessee.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Tennessee, and Lambda Legal issued the following response:

“We will not allow this dangerous law to stand. Certain politicians and Gov. Lee have made no secret of their intent to discriminate against youth who are transgender or their willful ignorance about the life-saving health care they seek to ban. Instead, they’ve chosen fearmongering, misrepresentations, intimidation, and extremist politics over the rights of families and the lives of transgender youth in Tennessee. We are dedicated to overturning this unconstitutional law and are confident the state will find itself completely incapable of defending it in court. We want transgender youth to know they are not alone and this fight is not over.”

All three organizations have promised legal action against SB 1, and similar restrictions in Alabama and Arkansas have been enjoined by federal courts. Tennessee is the fourth state in this legislative session to ban gender-affirming care for people under 18, following bans signed into law in Utah, South Dakota, and Mississippi.

Any person at risk of being affected by these restrictions on gender-affirming care should reach out to

The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

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