Medical experts pushed back against Texas lawmakers’ assertions that puberty blockers and hormone therapies are experimental and put young transgender patients at risk as they testified Tuesday in a hearing that seeks to block a new law banning such medical treatment for kids.
Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, a doctor who treats adolescents and has been providing gender-affirming care for 17 years, said the body of medical research demonstrates these treatments have a high success rate in improving mental health outcomes of trans youth. But in her clinical work, the evidence is more obvious.
“Recently, I had one of my patients tell me, ‘If you had not allowed me, and helped shepherd me through these interventions, I don’t think I would be here,’” said Olson-Kennedy, the medical director of the Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
She added that hundreds of her patients have expressed the same sentiment in her nearly two decades treating roughly 1,100 young patients.
Dr. Aron Janssen, a psychiatrist at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, testified to the evidence that psychotherapy alone cannot alleviate gender dysphoria, asserting that puberty blockers or hormone therapy is medically necessary. By restricting access to these treatments, young patients will have worse outcomes, Janssen said.
“There’s an intense improvement we see amongst these kids,” Janssen said of his clinical experience.
Texas lawmakers’ efforts to restrict gender-affirming care in Texas followed nearly identical campaigns from other Republican-led state legislatures. Across the country, 19 other states have passed similar legislation. Prohibiting doctors from providing gender-affirming care to trans youth is widely popular among Republican voters — over 85% of registered GOP voters in Texas supported these restrictions to some degree, according to an April poll by the Texas Politics Project.
But the wave of new legislation invited a series of lawsuits across the country seeking to block the laws from going into effect. Those suits have largely proved successful in federal courts.
See here for the background. As the story notes, this lawsuit is in state court, which I’m guessing is for the purpose of getting a faster result, hopefully a restraining order blocking enforcement of SB14. Testimony was scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the press releases I received from the ACLU of Texas. They have a brief update on the proceedings here. The state put on its case yesterday, and that was the end of the hearing. Now we wait for the judge.