Trans flag

A nine-year-old transgender child is suing the state of North Carolina to challenge its ban on gender-affirming care for trans minors.

Joined by his parents, a doctor, and a number of LGBTQ+ rights groups, the child, who goes by the pseudonym Victor Voe in the lawsuit, claims that the ban is unconstitutional and “gravely threatens the health and wellbeing of transgender adolescents.”

The ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth prohibits minors in North Carolina from accessing puberty blockers and hormone therapies, as well as surgical gender-affirming procedures. It also imposes penalties on doctors who provide such gender-affirming care to minors.

The Republican-led ban passed earlier this year, and went into effect this August, overriding Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s vetoes. 

North Carolina governor Roy Cooper
North Carolina Democratic governor Roy Cooper vetoed the trio of bills aimed at LGBTQ+ youth. (Sean Rayford / Getty Images)

Gov. Cooper vetoed the bill, along with two other anti-trans bills that were introduced at the same – one to restrict trans students in sports, and one that would ban gender identity and sexual orientation from being included in the state’s school curriculum.

All three vetoes were overrode and went into effect immediately.

Voe’s lawsuit alleges that this gender-affirming care ban violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause by revoking the parents’ ability to make medical decisions for their children.

On how the ban affects the nine-year-old and other minors like him, it says: “Victor is transgender. He knew from a very young age that his gender identity did not match his sex assigned at birth, and he generally lives as the boy he is in every aspect of life. However, with his puberty approaching, Victor will soon need medical care that is prohibited by the Health Care Ban.” 

Rainbow flag and Trans flag on a flagpole in front of office buildings
The nine-year-old is joined by his parents, a doctor, and a number of LGBTQ+ organisations. (Getty Images)

It argues that the health care ban was passed despite “sustained and robust opposition of medical experts” and will now”interfere with the ability of doctors to follow these evidence-based protocols.” 

The suit reads that restricting access to gender-affirming therapies could cause significant harm to trans minors in the state.

“Untreated gender dysphoria is associated with severe harm, including anxiety, depression, and suicidality,” it reads, per The Messenger.

“Cutting vulnerable adolescents off from treatment or withholding necessary care will inevitably cause significant harm”

Voe is joined in his lawsuit by Dr Riley Smith, a gender-affirming care provider, his parents, and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups PFLAG and GLMA.

In a statement to the Washington Examiner, CEO of PLAG Brian Bond said of the health care ban: “The same legislators who cried ‘parents rights’ on certain issues are saying that on other issues, parents can’t be trusted to make decisions about what is right for their own children and families.

“It certainly makes one wonder if perhaps these legislators aren’t truly worried about the actual health and well-being of trans kids in North Carolina.”

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