A federal judge in the United States struck down a law in Arkansas that prohibited minors from accessing gender transition treatment. This is the first such restriction to be reversed after similar laws were enacted in Republican-led states. Judge Jay Moody ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it violated the rights of physicians to provide medical care and discriminated against transgender individuals.
The judge based his decision on the evidence presented, which showed that the vetoed medical care improves the mental health and well-being of patients. By banning such treatment, the state undermines the interests it purportedly seeks to promote. Arkansas became the first conservative Southern state to ban minors from accessing hormonal or surgical treatments for their gender transition in 2021. Since then, 20 other states have implemented similar laws, including Florida and Texas.
Arkansas District Attorney Tim Griffin announced that the state will appeal the decision, arguing that there is no scientific evidence that these procedures are beneficial to children and noting that their consequences are harmful and often permanent. For his part, the plaintiff, Dylan Brandt, a 17-year-old transgender teenager, was “grateful” to the judge for understanding that this treatment has improved his life and for recognizing the dangerous impact this law could have on his life and that of many other transgender people.