Wayne Law explores transgender health equity and the law during fall symposium

Pictured from left to right are on-campus presenters and moderators of the symposium: J. Lloyd Allen, Jamison Green, M. Killian Kinney, Ted Hutchinson, Richard A. Bierschbach, Alexander Chen, Heather Walter-McCabe, Kellan Baker, Luisa Kcomt and Ames Simmons.

Wayne Law explores transgender health equity and the law during fall symposium

Wayne State University Law School hosted the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics Transgender Health Equity and the Law symposium on campus and in a virtual format in fall 2022. The daylong discussion attracted speakers and attendees from 17 states and three countries.

The symposium unveiled a special issue of the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics devoted to transgender health equity and the law, with panels from authors and local researchers on a broad array of topics, including policy as a driver of health equity, access to appropriate health care, reproductive health and international human rights.

Admiral Rachel L. Levine, U.S. assistant secretary for health, provided opening remarks at the symposium.

According to Associate Professor of Law and Social Work Heather Walter-McCabe, 2022 saw the highest number of bills introduced aimed at LGBTQ+ populations in recent history, with many of them targeting transgender populations. October 2022 saw the introduction of House Bill 6454, which, if passed, would make seeking gender-affirming care for youth child abuse potentially punishable by up to life in prison.

“As bills are being examined, particularly ones aimed at health care access, it is important for those discussing them to understand the medically accepted standards of care for transgender populations and the health disparities that they experience,” said Walter-McCabe. “This symposium provided a solid foundation of evidence that can be helpful in making such determinations, whether at a legislative, organizational or community level.

“At a time like this, when states across the U.S. are considering policy impacting transgender communities, discussion at the JLME Transgender Health Equity and the Law conference provided an important opportunity to examine the very real individual and public health consequences of such laws,” Walter-McCabe continued. “It is hoped that the information provided by scholars from a variety of professional specialties will assist those who care about health policy and those in practice to do so with an evidence-based lens.”

The co-sponsored symposium was a collaboration between Wayne State University Law School; American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics; and Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic to pose opportunities for moving forward with a more equitable approach to policy impacting transgender populations. Additional interdisciplinary support was provided by moderators from the Wayne State University School of Social Work and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Speakers included:
Alexander Chen, Harvard Law School LGBTQ+ Advocacy Clinic

Aoife O’Connor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Benjamin Mason Meier, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health

Florence Ashley, University of Toronto Faculty of Law

Kellan Baker, Whitman-Walker Institute

Ames Simmons, Duke University School of Law

Elizabeth R. Kukura, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

M. Killian Kinney, Pacific University Oregon

Jamison Green, former president of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health

doctor coat with pin and stethoscope