• D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG
  • D.C.
  • BXL
  • Lagos
Semafor Logo
  • Dubai
  • Beijing
  • SG

Updated Jun 24, 2024, 3:32pm EDT
politicsNorth America
icon

Semafor Signals

US Supreme Court to take up transgender rights, starting with gender-affirming care for minors

Insights from The Associated Press, The New York Times, and Vox

Arrow Down
View of the U.S. Supreme Court on the day justices issue orders in pending appeals in Washington, D.C., on June 24, 2024
Nathan Howard/REUTERS
PostEmailWhatsapp
Title icon

The News

The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the Biden administration’s challenge to state laws banning gender-affirming care for children, jumping into the fraught political fight over transgender rights. Arguments will take place in the fall.

The case will be the first time the justices publicly consider the constitutionality of such restrictions, which 23 states have passed since 2021.

AD

At the heart of this case is a Tennessee law that restricts access to puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and gender-affirming surgery for minors — treatments that the leading US medical organizations have deemed effective and safe. The law also penalizes doctors who violate the ban.

icon

SIGNALS

Semafor Signals: Global insights on today's biggest stories.

Gender-affirming care bans part of broader fight over trans rights

Source icon
Sources:  
The Associated Press, Vox

The Tennessee law at issue here is “a major part of a broader set of laws and policies that has emerged in Republican-controlled states that rein in rights of transgender people,” The Associated Press reported, including barring transgender athletes in sports and bathrooms. Attacking trans rights has become a top issue in state GOP politics, where the idea that such attacks “protect the children” have proven salient with some voters. It could become increasingly unignorable in federal politics, too: Donald Trump said earlier this year that if reelected, he would “stop” all gender-affirming care for minors.

Religious right focused on transgender rights after losing marriage equality fight

Source icon
Sources:  
The New York Times, Axios

When the Supreme Court decided the constitutional right to same-sex marriage in 2015, social conservatives needed to find another issue to galvanize their base. They landed on transgender rights, The New York Times previously reported. The anti-trans agenda caught on at a speed that stunned even veteran political leaders, but its biggest advocates say that makes sense: It’s a clear response to what many on the right see as to the left’s push to impose over-liberal beliefs on children. And after the constitutional right to abortion was overturned in 2022, that freed up even more conservative funds to put toward curtailing trans rights.

Wave of bills fosters fear in US trans community

Source icon
Sources:  
Vox, USA Today, The Courier Journal, Pew Research Center

The US has seen a wave of anti-trans legislation that began around 2016 and has only ramped up every year. That escalation has created a culture of fear in the trans community, advocates told Vox. “A lot of the bills are aimed at creating not only fear in the community, but also making anti-trans sentiment part of the general conversation,” one said. Some community members told USA Today they fear the rhetoric is designed to erase transgender people from public life; anti-trans bills rarely use the word “transgender,” which activists see as an effort to deny the existence of trans people. Some have called for left-leaning lawmakers to push back more strongly, but many Democrats have complicated views on trans issues themselves.

Semafor Logo
AD