U.S. judge reinstates Kentucky’s ban on gender affirming medical care for transgender minors

By: - July 14, 2023 4:50 pm

A protester raises a fist beside a large transgender pride flag at the Kentucky State Capitol in March. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Sarah Ladd)

A federal judge on Friday stayed a temporary block on part of a new Kentucky law that banned gender-affirming medical care for transgender minors. 

That means Kentucky’s transgender children are now banned from receiving hormone treatments, a move celebrated by Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who requested the reversal. 

“While we strongly disagree with this opinion, it is only in effect while our appeal is pending in front of the Sixth Circuit,” Corey Shapiro, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky of Kentucky, said in a statement. “It is not the final word, and we remain optimistic that with a full briefing we will achieve a positive result.”

In late June, U.S. District Court Judge David Hale in Louisville sided with the ACLU of Kentucky in temporarily blocking the section of Senate Bill 150 that banned certain health care options like puberty blockers for transgender minors. 

Last week the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, overturned a similar district court ruling in Tennessee, allowing that state’s ban on gender-affirming medical care for minors to take effect.

Hale based his Friday decision, temporarily reinstating Kentucky’s ban, on the appeals court ruling in the Tennessee case.

Cameron, who is running for Kentucky governor, said in a statement that the ruling was a “win for parents and children.” He also criticized the “influences of leftist activists.” 

Rebecca Blankenship is Kentucky’s first openly trans elected official

“Moving forward, my office will continue to defend Senate Bill 150 and stand up for the right of children to be children,” Cameron said. 

Senator Max Wise, who sponsored SB150, also celebrated the court’s decision. 

“I’m pleased to know the holistic well-being of Kentucky’s transgender children, at least for now, will be fully considered,” Max said. 

Rebecca Blankenship, the executive director, and Michael Frazier, government affairs director of Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky, said in a joint statement that the decision marks “an extremely difficult moment” for the state’s trans children.

The decision, Blankenship and Frazier said, “was a lost battle, but not the end of the war in this case or the broader fight to protect Kentucky’s kids.”

This story may update. 


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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.