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Kentucky transgender treatment ban for minors will stay in effect, court rules

Transgender youth supporters rally outside the Kentucky Senate on March 29, 2023.
Josh James
Transgender youth supporters rally outside the Kentucky Senate on March 29, 2023.

A Thursday ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals keeps the portion of Kentucky’s sweeping Senate Bill 150 dealing with gender-affirming care in place. The language, which bars physicians from providing things like puberty blockers and hormone therapy to Kentuckians under 18, was temporarily put on hold in late June, but that decision was reversed.

David Walls with the Family Foundation called the ruling an another "important legal victory" for children in the commonwealth.

"The Sixth Circuit rightly agreed that Kentucky has the right to protect vulnerable children from harm and give them time to seek compassionate care," Walls said. "This ruling is another important legal victory in the effort to end these irreversible medical experiments that leave children physically and chemically mutilated."

But opponents of the ban are lamenting the court loss. Chris Hartman with Kentucky's Fairness Campaign said he’s afraid the issue will eventually be put before the conservative majority on the U.S. high court.

"Unfortunately the writing is on the wall that the issue is going to be headed to the United States Supreme Court at some point in time and we know that the likelihood there is not a hopeful one, but I will always maintain optimism even in the face of this opposition," he told WUKY.

In the meantime, five Lexington transgender students and their families say they are filing a new suit challenging the education component of SB 150 — which places new restrictions on transgender students’ bathroom and limits teaching about sexuality, while also barring schools from mandating that teachers use students’ preferred pronouns.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.