A Texas judge ruled on Thursday that new transgender youth treatment can temporarily resume at a hospital in Dallas for the next two weeks after it stopped taking new patients late last year.
Ximena Lopez, the head of the Genecis program, which provides non-binary and transgender youth with gender-affirming services, filed a lawsuit in March to fully restart the program, run jointly between Children’s Medical Center Dallas and UT Southwestern Medical Center.
Amid legislative scrutiny around the treatment, the hospitals removed the program’s branding last year and began referring new patients to outside providers or hormone therapy and puberty suppressants in gender dysphoria treatment, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Lopez’s lawyers argued earlier this week that such a move could create “irreparable injury” and was discriminatory for providing care to non-trans youth in certain circumstances but denying it to trans adolescents requesting it for the first time, according to the news outlet.
A two-week temporary injunction against Children’s Medical Center Dallas was granted by Dallas County Judge Melissa Bellan on Thursday, allowing for all trans youth patients to receive the gender-affirming services while the challenge makes its way through the courts.
The ruling comes after 47 pieces of legislation have been introduced in Texas in three special legislative sessions that sought to curb access to gender-affirming care for transgender adolescents, among other restrictions, The 19th reported in November. Less than 20 percent of those bills passed.
Texas’ governor and attorney general, both Republicans, have also sought to restrict transgender youth treatment, even investigating parents of children who seek such treatment for child abuse.
In a joint statement in late March, two hospitals said the GENECIS branding had been removed to protect patients, and that the program has been modified out of fear that it could otherwise be shut down entirely.
“After legislative hearings last year brought additional scrutiny of our care, the GENECIS brand became a lightning rod for the controversy over hormone therapy for gender dysphoria, and we made the joint decision to remove the branding so we could care for our patients in a more protective environment,” the hospitals added.
“In contrast to how this has been characterized by some, no clinic has been closed, and we continue to accept new patients referred for potential gender dysphoria.”
The statement noted that UT Southwestern was still providing both youth and adults with gender-affirming care, noting “Our clinics for youths experiencing or needing evaluation for gender dysphoria were never closed and have been actively accepting new patients.”