LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — In April of 2021, the Arkansas Legislature passed a bill that banned gender-affirming care for trans youth. Starting Monday, October 17, 2022, the legality of this law will be the subject of a two-week-long trial.
Four families of trans youth and two doctors have sued the state, arguing that the ban violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment by discriminating on the basis of gender identity, the First Amendment by limiting the speech of medical providers, and undermines parents’ fundamental rights to make medical decisions for their children.
This gender-affirming care includes a wide range of social, psychological, behavioral, or medical interventions that are used to support and affirm a person’s gender identity. Many medical organizations oppose the state’s position stating that this care is safe and supported by scientific evidence as well as saying that denying it to young people, who need it could put them at risk of significant harm to their mental health.
Arkansas’ Act was the first gender-affirming care ban in the United States. In July 2021, the district court issued an injunction that prevented the law from going into effect as it played out. The new trial will decide whether the law will go into effect.
This case has been closely watched and has already received the input of major medical organizations, LGBTQ advocacy groups, and the Biden Administration. The Arkansas trial will determine whether trans and gender non-conforming youth throughout the state can access this gender-affirming medical care.