On March 2, 2023, Governor Bill Lee signed Public Chapter 1, which prohibits gender-affirming medical care to patients under eighteen in Tennessee,[1] into law.

This guide is intended to provide information for young people and their families regarding the new law.

This document does not give legal or medical advice, and you should not rely on it as legal or medical advice. You should speak with a lawyer or medical provider to get advice on your specific situation.

When does this bill go into effect?

The healthcare ban will go into effect on July 1, 2023.[1]

Will patients under eighteen who haven’t started medication yet still be able to?

If a patient under eighteen has not started medication by July 1, 2023, they will not be able to begin medical treatment in Tennessee. However, if they began receiving medication prior to July 1, 2023, their healthcare provider may continue to prescribe the medication until March 31, 2024.[2]

Will this ban force patients under eighteen to detransition?

 No, patients under eighteen will not be forced to present or identify any certain way. However, starting March 31, 2024, patients under eighteen who have been receiving gender-affirming care will be unable to continue to access medications from providers in Tennessee.[3]

Can patients under eighteen still receive mental healthcare?

 Yes, there is no prohibition or restriction on gender-affirming psychological counseling or mental health services.[4]

Will patients under eighteen be able to seek gender-affirming medical care outside of Tennessee?

Yes, there is nothing in the ban that prevents patients from accessing care in other states.

The ban prevents doctors who are licensed in Tennessee or are treating patients located in Tennessee from providing gender-affirming medical care to patients under eighteen within the state.[5]

How will this ban affect patients under eighteen receiving gender-affirming care via telehealth?

 The ban will prevent any doctors from providing gender-affirming care via telehealth to patients under eighteen located in Tennessee.[6]

How does the ban affect adult patients?

The ban only applies to medical care administered to patients under the age of eighteen.[7]

What can I do to get involved?

There are plenty of volunteer opportunities to advocate for trans youth with the ACLU of Tennessee as well as through other local organizations within Tennessee. If you would like to volunteer with ACLU-TN, please fill out this form. Below is a list of Tennessee organizations focused on LGBTQ rights.

  • GLSEN-TN – “GLSEN works to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment.”
  • inclusion tennessee – “in august 2021, inclusion tennessee was officially formed with a mission to connect people, opportunities, and resources to enrich and enhance the lives of the multi-faceted lgbtqia+ community.”
  • Knoxville Pride – “Our developing community and outreach center will be another place for people to find a home base in the Knoxville LGBTQ+ community. We intend to have resources, referrals, and services for other parts of our community. Plus, we’ll host events, and meetings, and allow other groups to come to use our space as a gathering center for their cause. Long-term, we envision a space where people can learn more about our pride community, come get tailored for their next interview, or utilize our food pantry if you’re someone who is in need. All of that, and more to come. Knox Pride Festival, what we’re traditionally known for, is an open celebration of music, entertainment and speakers focused on promoting equality and inclusion for all.”
  • OUTMemphis (formerly known as the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center) – “Regardless of how we identify as individuals, we all seek a world where we can live openly, honestly and authentically. We desire a community that celebrates and respects us fully as a part of the whole. We expect and deserve to be as open about who we are and whom we love as we choose to be. Working to make that world a reality is what we do every day at OUTMemphis…in dozens of ways, in a hundred settings, and for thousands of clients and allies.”
  • PFLAG Nashville – “PFLAG is the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies. With nearly 400 chapters and 250,000 members and supporters crossing multiple generations of families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas across America, PFLAG is committed to creating a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued, and affirmed.”
  • Tennessee Equality Project – “The Tennessee Equality Project advocates for the equal rights of LGBTQ people in Tennessee.  We do this through legislative advocacy.  That means we lobby the Tennessee General Assembly and local governments around the state.  When there is an important federal issue, like bills that include anti-LGBTQ adoption language, we help you make your voice heard with your federal officials.”

Additionally, below is a list of mental health resources available. The ACLU of Tennessee has no affiliation and cannot speak to these programs and certain hotlines may contact 911 when required under law. However, these resources are free, and we hope that they are helpful.

  • Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network – “The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network is the statewide organization responsible for implementing the Tennessee Strategy for Suicide Prevention, as defined by the 1999 Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Suicide. We are a grassroots team of Tennesseans, divided into eight regions under the direction of our statewide Executive Director, working to eliminate the stigma of suicide, educate the community about the warning signs of suicide, and ultimately reduce the rate of suicide in the state of Tennessee.”
  • LGBTQ+ National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Trevor Project Lifeline: 1-866-488-7386
  • Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
  • LGBT National Hotline: 1-888-843-4564

More information on local resources within Tennessee, can be found here.

More information on ACLU-TN’s transgender justice program, TRANScend Tennessee, can be found here.

[1] Tennessee Laws Pub. Ch. 1 (S.B. 1) § 5, eff. July 1, 2023 (codified at Tennessee Code Annotated §§ 68-33-101 to -109).
[2] Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-33-103(b)(1)(B).
[3] Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-33-103.
[4] Tenn. Care Ann. § 68-33-109.
[5] Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-33-103(a)(1-2)
[6] Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-33-103(a)(2).
[7] Tenn. Code Ann. § 68-33-103 (a)(1).