Arkansas’s Unconstitutional Attack On Transgender Children And The Rights Of Their Parents

Spring 2024 By Falyn E. Traina |

In being asked why the state of Arkansas would step in and override parents, physicians, psychiatrists, and endocrinologists who have developed guidelines for the protocols for treating gender dysphoria, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge replies that “for every single one of them, there is one that says we don’t need to allow children to be able to take those medications.” In defending this false position, she claims to have heard testimony that “98% of the young people who have gender dysphoria” are able to “move past that” without the use of “medication.” Her interviewer, Jon Stewart, replies: “Wow, that’s an incredibly made-up figure.” Being pressed further, Stewart asks her to cite her source. To no avail, she claims she cannot think of the name “off the top of [her] head.”

Stewart sets up an analogy in an attempt to help Attorney General Rutledge understand the hypocrisy and political agenda-pushing beneath the Arkansas bill. He sets up a scenario in which your child has pediatric cancer and: The state comes in and tells you that ‘they recommend chemotherapy, but we are not going to let you do that. We [the State] think you should get a different opinion, and here is the organization we think you should get the opinion from. They’re not the mainstream, but they’re an organization. That’s who you have to be treated by.

Rutledge quickly dismisses the analogy as being “not at all in line with” their discussion because parents with children who have pediatric cancer are facing “life or death,” and she has friends who have lost children to pediatric cancer. Stewart interrupts, “I’ve got some bad news for you: Parents with children who have gender dysphoria have lost children to suicide and depression.” He continues, “I’m confused why you follow AMA guidelines for all other health issues in Arkansas, but not for this. Though she is unable or unwilling to answer the question directly, this discussion illuminates the very clear motivation behind Arkansas’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors. The motivation is not, as it so claimed to be, the protection of Arkansas children. The motivation is to disadvantage and attempt to erase a politically unpopular group.

The above is a summary of an article by Falyn E. Traina published in the Spring 2024 edition of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law Review. A third-year law student at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, Falyn will join Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull as a litigation associate upon graduation. You may click the link below to read the full article.