Parents sue after Georgia law banning some gender-affirming care for kids takes effect

A law banning minors from receiving most gender-affirming surgeries and hormone therapies is officially in place as of Saturday. But now, some families are fighting back by filing a lawsuit to block the new law.

The lawsuit filed Thursday by four Georgia families says the law prevents them from making critical decisions about their children's healthcare. Lawmakers in support of the legislation have said it's meant to protect minors.


"It does not protect youth it harms youth," Beth Littrell, Attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center, said.

The families, all with children 12 and under, say hormone therapy is a necessity for their kids who are all diagnosed with gender dysphoria. They entered the lawsuit anonymously over fear for their safety. They say not having the treatment will cause "increased distress, major depression, anxiety, self harm, suicidal ideation, and suicide."

"These families feel they are targeted. And all they're trying to do is to raise happy healthy children who can thrive and be their authentic selves and get whatever medication their doctors and they decide their children need," Littrell explained.

The families along with attorneys for the Southern Poverty Law Center, ACLU, and Human Rights Campaign foundation now want a temporary restriction in place to stop SB 140 from taking effect. The law prevents doctors from performing sex reassignment surgery or hormone replacement therapy on anyone under eighteen.

Governor Kemp signed the bill into law in March saying in a statement in part "as elected leaders, it is our highest responsibility to safeguard the bright, promising, futures of our kids - and SB 140 takes an important step in fulfilling that mission."

Lawmakers in support of the legislation say these treatments have lifelong effects young people may not recognize.

"The Bill again does not stop adults from making an informed decision that's going to impact their adult life," Rep. Will Wade explained in March.

But opponents say the law is doing more harm than good, forcing some families to leave the state.

"The law, no matter if we're successful in getting it knocked down, has already harmed families who are feeling enormous stress [and] fear," Littrell said.

The defendants in the lawsuit, members of the state Board of Community Health and Georgia Composite Medical Board have until Monday to file their response. A hearing on the emergency request for a temporary restraining order for the new law is set for Wednesday.