“We’re not ready to leave”: Testimony continues in Arkansas transgender healthcare trial
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK/KAIT) – Wednesday marked the third day in a trial against Arkansas’ bill to ban care for transgender youth under the age of 18.
The trial, which began on Monday, Oct. 17, has U.S. District Judge Jay Moody hearing evidence and testimony over the law he temporarily blocked in 2021, which would prohibit doctors from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers, or surgery to those under the age.
If the law were to take effect, doctors who violate the ban could lose their licenses or face other professional disciplinary measures and could be sued.
Content partner KARK reported Oct. 19 began with testimony from Dr. Michelle Hutchison, who was previously the medical director of the Arkansas Children’s Gender Clinic.
Hutchison said she saw three of the plaintiffs in the case for treatment for Gender Dysphoria.
She explained she went through points in which she would administer treatment, with most beginning with mental health and psychological assessment of the patient. In these sessions, the patients would discuss daily habits, mental state, and how long they had identified as a specific gender.
Hutchison said, in most cases, she would see patients for 10 months or more before recommending any sort of medical treatment.
“If any member of the team felt that it wasn’t right, that would delay treatment,” she stated.
In the past few months, Hutchison said the clinic had stopped medically treating new patients in anticipation of the ban would become law. She feared this becoming a reality.
“Forcing a kid to wait until they’re 18, I just worry these kids are going to hurt themselves,” Hutchison said.
Dr. Kathryn Stambough, the clinic’s current director, echoed those same concerns in relation to suicide rates.
“Not every patient could make it to 18,” Stambough said.
During Wednesday’s trial, two sets of parents with transgender children were called to give testimony.
Amanda Dennis was first called to the stand. She has a 10-year-old transgender daughter named Brooke.
Dennis said before Brooke came out as transgender, life was relatively dark for her.
“A lot of moments in her young life when you’re supposed to be happy, she didn’t have that,” she said.
Dennis explained Brooke came out as transgender in the second grade and started seeing a therapist for Gender Dysphoria shortly after.
Joanna Brandt said it was a different world when her son, Dylan, started hormone therapy.
“He had been holding his breath for years and he was finally able to exhale and relax,” she said.
Both parents said they felt anxious about the possibility of Arkansas’ ban becoming reality, with Brandt proclaiming she feels like the state is forcing her out.
“We’re not ready to leave,” she said.
The plaintiff in the case is expected to rest Friday, Oct. 21, during which the state will present its testimony.
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