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DOJ issues letter advising against discriminatory transgender laws

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it issued a letter to all state attorneys general reminding them of federal constitutional and statutory provisions that protect transgender youth against discrimination, including when those youth seek gender-affirming care. The letter comes after various states across the country propose legislation limiting education, care and rights surrounding transgender individuals.

Wisconsin Republican lawmakers André Jacque, Duey Stroebel and Kathleen Bernier introduced Senate Bill 915 in February 2022. The proposed bill would prohibit physician and healthcare providers from administering any gender transition procedure and a health insurance policy or self-insured governmental health plan from providing coverage for any gender transition procedure to an individual under 18 years of age. The bill failed to pass on March 15.

The DOJ’s letter advises states that laws and policies that prevent individuals from receiving gender-affirming medical care may infringe on federal constitutional protections under the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The letter also discusses federal statutes that impose nondiscrimination obligations, including Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Today’s letter reaffirms state and local officials’ obligation to ensure that their laws and policies do not undermine or harm the health and safety of children, regardless of a child’s gender identity,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

A copy of today’s letter can be found here.

Complaints about discriminatory practices may be reported to the Civil Rights Division through its internet reporting portal at civilrights.justice.gov.


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