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Photo courtesy of ACLU of Louisiana  

Five Louisiana families sue to overturn gender-affirming care ban
Five Louisiana Transgender youth and their families have sued to overturn the state's law banning gender-affirming care for Trans minors.

The suit, Soe v. Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners, contends the law violates the Louisiana state constitution and the rights of Transgender adolescents and their parents to dignity and equal protection. It was filed Monday in Civil District Court for Orleans Parish.

Louisiana lawmakers passed the legislation, Act 466, by overriding Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards's veto in July. It went into effect this month. It bans puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and surgeries for the purpose of gender transition for minors. Health care workers who violate the law are subject to discipline by licensing boards and can be sued.

"By selectively banning treatments for transgender youth, the Act deprives Louisiana transgender adolescents of medically necessary and often life-saving care that has proven to be effective in treating a transgender adolescent's gender dysphoria and addressing the depression, anxiety, and other serious health conditions that can result from untreated gender dysphoria," the suit says.

It adds, "The Minor Plaintiffs, along with hundreds of other minors in Louisiana, are thus poised to lose access to safe, effective, and well-established necessary medical care because Louisiana has singled them out for a discriminatory treatment in violation of the guarantees to equal protection of the laws and equal dignity provided by the Louisiana Constitution."

"This health care ban only stands to harm Louisiana's Trans youth and their families," Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, counsel and health care strategist for Lambda Legal, one of the organizations representing the plaintiffs, said in a press release.

He continued, "The Transgender young people we represent, along with hundreds of other minors in the state, are at risk of losing necessary, life-saving medical care just because Louisiana has singled them out for discriminatory treatment. The health care ban represents broad government overreach into the relationship between parents, their children, and their health care provider."

Twenty-two states have passed laws banning some or all gender-affirming care for Trans minors. Several of the laws have been blocked by courts while lawsuits proceed, and one, in Arkansas, has been struck down in court, but that ruling is on appeal.

Most recently, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed a ban on gender-affirming care but then issued an executive order banning gender-affirming surgeries for minors — which are almost never performed — and directed state agencies to draft administrative rules that will make it almost impossible for either Trans youth or adults to access any gender-affirming care.

Photo by Dado Ruvic Illustration / Reuters  

San José council member granted restraining order against transphobic Instagramer
An elected official in California has been temporarily shielded from attacks by a right-wing extremist. San José City Councilmember Peter Ortiz recently obtained a restraining order against Robert Saenz, the owner of a popular Instagram page called "ESSJ Times."

The action comes in response to Saenz's posts on the social media platform, which Ortiz says have put him and his girlfriend in danger and have incited hateful messaging toward the Queer community, Mercury News reports.

The "ESSJ Times'' Instagram account, with more than 66,000 followers, features content about crime and public safety in San José. Recently, Saenz began to obsessively post transphobic content, including controversial material regarding medical treatment for Transgender children. He used the term "groomer" in these posts, which falsely associates legitimate medical care for Transgender youth with child abuse and fosters violence against the Queer community.

According to Mercury News, the situation escalated on December 17, when Saenz shared a photo of Ortiz with the words "brown puppet" superimposed over the councilmember's face. This post accused Ortiz and his colleague Omar Torres, both Latinx, of failing to represent the Latinx or Mexican community. It particularly highlighted their alleged stance on issues related to the treatment of children.

Ortiz filed for the restraining order on December 20, following another post on December 13 that included disturbing content. This post featured a video with images suggesting that Transgender medical treatment leads to inappropriate sexual encounters, alongside pictures of Ortiz, his girlfriend, and Torres.

The court granted the restraining order December 21. It bars Saenz from making further defamatory statements about Ortiz and his girlfriend and approaching the council member's girlfriend. However, the court found the request to extend protection to the schools of Ortiz's girlfriend's children unenforceable due to vagueness.

Ortiz and Torres have been vocal supporters of the Queer community in San José. In October, the City Council, including Ortiz and Torres, unanimously passed a resolution supporting Transgender and Queer people. This resolution countered a local "parental rights'' group that opposed using Queer-themed school materials.