Defense takes turn in federal transgender youth trial in Arkansas
A trial to decide the fate of Arkansas' 2021 law banning gender-affirming medical care for minors resumed Monday.
- At issue is whether to uphold or permanently block a law Gov. Asa Hutchinson refused to sign.
Why it matters: The inability to access gender-affirming care has been linked to worse mental health outcomes for transgender youth, including thoughts of suicide and substance use, caused by gender dysphoria.
Reality check: Gender-affirming care is widely supported as appropriate and medically necessary by major health groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The latest: After a monthlong recess spurred by scheduling conflicts, testimony for those who oppose gender-affirming care dominated the bench trial Monday and Tuesday.
Context: The trial is between the state's attorney general's office and four Arkansas families represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Details: Ohio psychiatrist Stephen Levine said Monday that psychotherapy should be the primary treatment for gender dysphoria, Arkansas Advocate reported. He claimed doctors are too quick to prescribe hormones to minors.
- The testimony counters that given in October by other professionals for those seeking to maintain the right for parents to decide if their children receive gender-affirming care.
Yes, and: On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge James Moody Jr. didn't see immediate relevance of the testimony from Mark Regnerus, a University of Texas sociologist, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
- Regnerus claimed he's observed a bias toward affirmation rather than treatment of underlying mental or emotional conditions among providers treating transgender patients, the paper reported.
What they're saying: "All I'm hearing is some people are forming opinions which are causing debate," Moody said, the Democrat-Gazette reported.
What's next: A half day of testimony is expected Wednesday and at least a half day Thursday.
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 — or you can text message or call 988.
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