Republican Effort to Make Life Hell for Trans Kids Finds Victory in Federal Court

Republican Effort to Make Life Hell for Trans Kids Finds Victory in Federal Court
Trump-appointed federal appeals court judge Barbara Lagoa (center) Photo:Jon Raedle (Getty Images)

The impact of Donald Trump’s record number of federal court appointments continues to make itself known as a pair of Trump-appointed judges have ruled against banning what is commonly referred to as “conversion therapy” for LGBTQ+ minors.

In a 2-1 decision in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, judges Britt Grant and Barbara Lagoa—the same Barbara Lagoa who was briefly considered to fill the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court before the president settled on nominating justice Amy Coney Barrett instead—decided that two Florida municipalities are violating licensed counselors’ First Amendment rights by prohibiting them from trying to change a youth client’s sexual orientation or gender identity, The Palm Beach Post reports.

The decision—which goes against “consensus among mainstream medical groups that ‘conversion therapy’ is dangerous and ineffective,” writes Slate staff writer Mark Joseph Stern—only directly concerns bans in Boca Raton and Palm Beach County, but it may have laid the groundwork for a future Supreme Court decision that could overturn similar bans found in 20 states, 83 municipalities, and in Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, meaning that it could potentially impact LGBTQ+ youth nationwide.

While the widespread implications are significant, it is also worth noting how this decision fits into the Republican Party’s multi-pronged strategy to undermine trans kids, specifically. When a Trump-appointed judge rules in favor of anti-trans “conversion therapy,” they are very much working in tandem with the GOP legislator attempting to pass a bill that would protect a parent’s right to deny gender-affirming care to their child or ban discussions of gender dysphoria in public schools. These efforts might not be coordinated, but they share the same end goal: making even the most inevitable transition as difficult as possible for trans youth, further marginalizing already vulnerable individuals, even if it kills them.

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