AMA, medical organizations tell SCOTUS that discrimination jeopardizes health of transgender individuals

Doctor with patient
Employment discrimination puts transgender individuals' physical and mental health in jeopardy, say medical groups. (Getty/wutwhanfoto)

The American Medical Association (AMA) and more than a dozen other organizations have filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to protect transgender individuals from employment discrimination.

It will be up to the Supreme Court to decide three cases that look at the question of whether a provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LGBTQ individuals from employment discrimination based on their sexual orientation. The medical groups urged the court to protect transgender individuals arguing that such discrimination puts their physical and mental health in jeopardy.

The Supreme Court is considering whether federal protections apply after lower courts have split on the question.

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The AMA, the American College of Physicians and 14 other medical, mental health, nursing, and healthcare organizations filed the amicus brief (PDF) to speak out in the fight for transgender rights. Employment discrimination based on sexual orientation jeopardizes the health of transgender individuals, the physician and health groups argued.

The brief was submitted in three cases before the court and cites more than four dozen studies and papers on the consensus among healthcare professionals including that discrimination poses harm to the health and well-being of transgender individuals.

It’s not the first time the AMA has taken a stand on transgender issues or filed amicus briefs to make its views known on issues before the court. The AMA, for instance, spoke out against the Trump administration’s decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

The brief, intended to inform the high court, maintains that “being transgender implies no impairment in a person’s judgment, stability, or general social or vocational capabilities.” Despite this medical consensus, there is evidence of widespread employment discrimination against transgender people that exacerbates gender dysphoria, frustrates medical treatment and impedes access to healthcare when discrimination results in a person losing income or health insurance, the medical groups said.

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