TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida law banning transgender youth from getting medical treatment is temporarily on hold after a surprise decision Tuesday by a federal judge.
The ruling comes amid a bevy of legislation sweeping state houses this year restricting gender-affirming care for transgender minors.
Meanwhile LGBTQ+ communities and their allies are organizing Pride events and calling for pushback against what they say are discriminatory laws.
Here’s a look at the latest developments:
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN FLORIDA?
A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked portions of a new Florida law that bans transgender minors from receiving puberty blockers.
“Gender identity is real,” Judge Robert Hinkle said, ruling that the state has no rational basis for denying patients treatment.
Hinkle issued a preliminary injunction saying three transgender children can continue receiving treatment.
The lawsuit brought by the three children’s parents challenges the law Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed shortly before he announced a run for president.
The judge’s decision focuses on the use of GnRH agonists, known as puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones. The litigation focuses on language involving minors and doesn’t address other wording that makes it difficult to nearly impossible for adults to receive or continue gender-affirming care.
A bill banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths in Louisiana has passed in the Senate and is heading to the governor’s desk.
The measure would prohibit hormone treatments, gender-affirming surgery and puberty-blocking drugs for minors.
The House, which has already passed it, is expected to approve some amendments before the bill goes before Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat who opposes it.
Edwards has not said whether he would veto the legislation. If he does, lawmakers could convene a veto session to try to override his decision.
Last session, the governor chose not to block a law banning transgender athletes from participating in women and girls sports competitions in Louisiana, although he successfully vetoed a similar measure the year before.
Louisiana legislators are also expected to give final passage to two other anti-LGTBQ+ measures — a “Don’t Say Gay” bill and one restricting pronoun usage.
AN LGTBQ+ ‘EMERGENCY’
The Human Rights Campaign has declared a “ state of emergency ” for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S., calling on people in government and the business community to fight for equal rights.
“We need champions right now,” HRC President Kelley Robinson said.
The campaign released a guidebook for LGBTQ+ Americans to help them navigate laws it deems discriminatory in certain states. It includes a “know your rights” information section and resources to help people relocate to states with stronger LGBTQ+ protections.
The nation’s largest organization devoted to LGBTQ+ rights said travel advisories aren’t enough to help people already living in states where lawmakers have targeted LGBTQ+ people.
FLAG FLAP IN MISSISSIPPI
Some residents are protesting after the Veterans Administration flew an LGBTQ+ pride flag at Mississippi’s Biloxi National Cemetery.
All the Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation have signed a letter demanding the VA remove the flag. The delegation’s only Democrat, Rep. Bennie Thompson, did not sign it.
The rainbow flag was added to a lineup of several U.S. flags last week to mark June as Pride Month.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough McDonough has authorized flying the pride flag at all VA facilities throughout June, as he has done in previous years.
The VA said in a statement that it’s flying the flag to show its commitment “to inclusion and as a tribute to the service and sacrifice of LGBTQ+ Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors.”
WHERE TRANSGENDER BANS STAND NATIONALLY
Hundreds of bills have been proposed restricting the rights of transgender people, and LGBTQ+ advocates say they’ve seen a record number of such measures in statehouses.
In addition to Florida, at least 18 states have enacted laws restricting or banning gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, South Dakota and West Virginia.
Federal judges have blocked enforcement of laws in Alabama and Arkansas, and Oklahoma has agreed to not enforce its ban while opponents seek a temporary court order blocking it.
Every major doctors’ group, including the American Medical Association, has opposed the bans and supported the care for youth when administered appropriately.
Lawsuits have been filed in several states where bans have been enacted this year.