Hundreds of Twitter users tuned in to conversation on Senator's recent letter to Biden administration; Strangio's record of advocacy 

Listen to full recording of Twitter Space HERE

Washington (October 12, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) hosted a Twitter Space today with Chase Strangio, a leading trans rights advocate and Deputy Director for Transgender Justice with the ACLU’s LGBT & HIV Project. Strangio’s record of advocacy includes his work representing Aimee Stephens, a trans woman who was fired from her job at a funeral home, in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v EEOC. In this landmark 2019 Supreme Court case, the 6-3 majority ruled the Civil Rights Act protects trans people from employment discrimination. During the Twitter Space, the Senator and Strangio discussed expanding access to testosterone, dispelling misinformation about trans health care, and fighting back against attacks on trans rights at a time when state governments are emboldened by the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

“Who is entitled to all of the full protections under the Fourteenth Amendment of the [Constitution]? Equal protection for all,” 
Senator Markey said during the conversation. “We just have to continue to push the outer boundaries to make sure that that is the country we live in. That we are a more perfect union.”

“What we’re seeing now – the escalation of attacks against medical providers who are treating their patients consistent with medical guidelines – looks a lot like the playbook in the abortion context,” Strangio said. “These threats are being imposed on gender clinics across the country […] many of them housed at children’s hospitals or research institutions affiliated with universities.”

Strangio continued, “We are, unfortunately, engaged in a public conversation debating this care while the medical community is using their clinical experience and their research to develop best practices – and that continues to be disrupted by these attacks.”

In their discussion, Senator Markey also reaffirmed his call for the Biden administration to review the federal classification of testosterone, a masculinizing hormone therapy, as a Schedule III controlled substance and to consider rescheduling or descheduling testosterone. Rescheduling or descheduling testosterone would ensure this hormone therapy is more accessible to trans people, including trans men and transmasculine nonbinary people. The current Schedule III classification prevents prescriptions for testosterone from being filled or refilled six months after issuance, or being refilled more than five times. On top of these requirements, states and private health insurers may impose further restrictions, such as 30-day limitations on controlled substances or limitations on mail delivery of prescriptions. Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs), state-level electronic databases that monitor a wide range of controlled substances including opioids and testosterone, may also “out” transgender people to their medical providers, pharmacists, family members, and other people and agencies with access to these databases.

During the conversation with Senator Markey, Strangio raised the fact that barriers to gender-affirming care are prevalent across the country in part due to the federal Schedule III classification of testosterone. He noted that the Abbott administration in Texas justified attacks on the provision of care to trans youth in the state by pointing to testosterone’s current classification, which was opposed by experts including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“As I’ve experienced in my life – as many trans people have experienced in their lives – getting access to supportive doctors and the care that we need is incredibly difficult,” Strangio said. “There [are] already so many barriers to getting treatment … you already are contending with the reality that trans people face so much discrimination in health care that is preventing them from getting into the doctor’s door in the first instance.”

Senator Markey concluded, “We just have to say it loudly and clearly that trans rights are human rights.”

Listen to the full Twitter Space conversation HERE.