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April 25, 2022 Asked and Answered

As states consider regulation targeting transgender youths, some minds have been changed

By Stephanie Francis Ward

A recent order from Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directing the state to consider medical treatments for transgender youths as child abuse is hurtful to children and their families, as is a new Alabama law that makes providing gender-affirming care to a minor a felony, says lawyer Asaf Orr.

Orr directs the Transgender Youth Project at the National Center for Lesbian Rights and adds that many clients in those states, as well as the 10-plus that recently passed laws prohibiting transgender youths from playing in girls’ sports, are finding support from churches, neighbors and schools.

They also take solace in things such as President Joe Biden’s March 2022 State of the Union address, which included support for federal legislation that provides comprehensive protections for people who are LGBTQ.

“They do talk about the statements from the Biden administration, so they know people in government care about them,” says Orr, who also helps clients who want to share their experiences with lawmakers.

“What is really critical is building up their confidence. Whether legislatures hear them or change their position, that’s not up to them, it’s up to the legislators. Thankfully, we’re seeing that some legislators have changed their positions,” he adds.

Send ideas for future episodes to ABA Journal Senior Writer Stephanie Francis Ward.


In This Podcast

Asaf Orr

Asaf Orr is a senior staff attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and directs its Transgender Youth Project. He has practiced law in this area for almost a decade and does litigation and public policy work.

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