CHICAGO - Attorney General Kwame Raoul, as part of a coalition of 21 attorneys general, filed an amicus brief today in support of a challenge to an Idaho law that blocks transgender youth from accessing critical, lifesaving gender-affirming care.

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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 granted a preliminary injunction against HB 71, Idaho appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. In their brief in support of the plaintiffs, the attorneys general stress the importance of gender-affirming care for the health and well-being of transgender youth.

“Restricting gender-affirming care jeopardizes the physical and mental health of transgender youth,” Raoul said. “Transgender youth deserve access to gender-affirming care, and I am committed to ensuring they are not denied those rights.”

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Many transgender teens suffer from gender dysphoria, which results from the incongruence between their gender identity and sex assigned at birth. 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 the brief, Raoul and the coalition support 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. Additionally, the coalition argues that HB 71 is discriminatory and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution by singling out medical care for transgender youth while permitting it for cisgender youth. They also note that bans of this kind fail to recognize how inclusive laws and policies have benefited transgender individuals.

Raoul was joined in filing today’s amicus brief by the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin.

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