The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against the state of Arkansas for its new law banning experimental and damaging puberty blockers, opposite-sex hormones and surgeries for gender confused minors.

In April, the Arkansas legislature overturned a veto from Governor Asa Hutchinson to pass the “Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act,” (SAFE Act), into law, becoming the first state to protect children from these unproven and destructive medical procedures.

The ACLU’s complaint says, “If the Health Care Ban goes into effect, it will have devastating consequences for transgender youth in Arkansas. These young people will be unable to obtain medical care that their doctors and parents agree they need – and those already receiving care will have their treatment abruptly halted – which could have serious and potentially life-threatening consequences.”

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of four families and two doctors. Both the physicians in the complaint, Dr. Michele Hutchison and Dr. Kathryn Stambough, work at the Gender Spectrum Clinic at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

As for the children and their families, Dylan Brandt, a 15-year-old girl who believes she is a boy, and her mother, Joanna, are the lead plaintiffs in the case, known as Brandt et al v. Rutledge et al. “Dylan knew from a young age that he did not feel comfortable with his gender,” says the complaint, and experienced depression and anxiety. Dylan began taking drugs to stop menstruation and then male hormones in 2020.

15-year-old Sabrina Jensen and her family are also plaintiffs. Jensen “began to realize her gender identity in late 2019,” and the family found a “therapist for Sabrina, who diagnosed her with gender dysphoria,” and “she was prescribed a testosterone suppressant and estrogen to initiate puberty consistent with her gender identity.”  Prior to the diagnosis, Sabrina “experienced depression, struggled to sleep, and engaged in self-harm.”

Parker Sexton is the third plaintiff. The 16-year-old was born male, or, in the words of the ACLU, “When he was born, he was designated as female on his birth certificate but his gender identity is male [sic].” The suit says, “When Parker was around 13 years old, he came out to his father as transgender in a letter. Parker asked his dad to refer to him by male pronouns and to call him by a typically male version of his birth name. He later chose the name Parker.”

The Dennis family is also involved in the lawsuit to overturn Arkansas’ law safeguarding children. According to the ACLU, “Brooke Dennis is 9 years old and is finishing up the third grade. She loves to read and write and wants to be a gymnast when she grows up. She’s also transgender, which means she was assigned \ male [sic] at birth but is a girl. As her mom put it, ‘Brooke has known exactly who she is since she was two years old.’”

So two-year-old children know exactly what sex they are and all that being male or female means. Therefore, the family and medical community should reinforce their beliefs, putting them on a life-long regimen of experimental drugs, hormones and surgeries that have serious health risks and may not even alleviate their mental health issues.

The above stories illustrate a common issue for gender confused individuals: Very often, they experience other mental health, behavioral and relational issues. But that simply brings up questions which gender activists never bother to answer, such as:

  • Are the mental health issues caused by people’s rejection and hatred of their own body?
  • How are these co-morbidities, such as suicidality, autism, bipolar disorder, psychoses, depression and anxiety, related to gender confusion? Are they contributing factors?
  • What traumatic events, family issues, and false beliefs contributed to a person’s gender confusion?
  • How much do our education system, entertainment world, the media and internet culture contribute to the huge increase in gender-confused children, adolescents and young adults.
  • And, perhaps most importantly: Should we treat and heal the mind of gender-confused children, or use drugs, surgery and hormones to try to change their bodies to look like the opposite sex?

While the ACLU claims these treatments are “medically necessary and appropriate care” for transgender youth, one wonders if the Dennis family were told that most young boys who want to become girls will desist from this thinking and behavior as they grow older.

Writing for the Christian Medical and Dental Associations’ blog, Dr. Andrè Van Mol writes, “Transgenderism/gender dysphoria has an overwhelming probability of desistance, resolving on its own 80 to 95 percent of the time by adulthood, according to professional literature (links to sources are from his article).”

A recent long-term study of 139 boys, who were tracked as adolescents and adults, confirms this. The research, from the Gender Identity Service, Child, Youth and Family Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada, found, “Of the 139 participants, 17 (12.2%) were classified as persisters and the remaining 122 (87.8%) were classified as desisters.”

The ACLU and other transgender activists ignore these studies and push the idea that drugs, hormones and surgeries simply “affirm” or “confirm” a child’s true gender and will bring about a healthy outcome. But they are going against the grain of what the medical community around the world is learning about these complex issues, and how they are treating gender confused children.

Dr. Van Mol explains that hormones and surgeries don’t necessarily help with suicidality, “A 2011 Swedish study showed that post-gender-reassignment adults were nineteen times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. Affirming transition is not proven to reduce suicides. It appears to worsen the outcomes.”

Medscape reported, earlier this month, “Karolinska Hospital in Sweden, plus a number of the other centers in the country that treat youth with gender dysphoria, has become the latest clinic to stop the routine hormonal treatment of youth under 18.”

Other treatment centers in Sweden are following suit. Medscape says, “This decision comes amid growing unease in some quarters regarding the speed at which hormonal treatment of children with gender dysphoria has become accepted as the norm in many countries, despite what critics say is a lack of evidence of any benefit, plus known harms, of treatment.”

In the United Kingdom, due to the huge surge in adolescents and teens given transgender medical interventions, the National Health Service (NHS) changed its online guidance about giving puberty blockers to children struggling with confusion about their sexual identity.

New NHS guidance was more honest about the effects of these drugs, which are experimental when given to children for sexual identity confusion, warning:

  • Little is known about the long-term side effects of hormone or puberty blockers in children with gender dysphoria.
  • Although the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) advises this is a physically reversible treatment if stopped, it is not known what the psychological effects may be.
  • It’s also not known whether hormone blockers affect the development of the teenage brain or children’s bones. Side effects may also include hot flushes, fatigue and mood alterations.

According to the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), Lupron, a commonly used blocker, “has also been associated with and may be the cause of many serious permanent side effects including osteoporosis, mood disorders, seizures, cognitive impairment and, when combined with cross-sex hormones, sterility.”

In Dec. 2020, the High Court in London blocked the UK’s only gender clinic from offering puberty blocking drugs to children under the age of 16. The court said, “There will be enormous difficulties in a child under 16 understanding and weighing up this information and deciding whether to consent to the use of puberty blocking medication. It is highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers.”

The court also said that for minors over the age of 16, clinicians should seek the authorization of a court before offering opposite-sex hormones and surgery.

So, while other countries are backing away from these experimental procedures, due to valid medical and scientific reasons, the ACLU is suing for them to continue in Arkansas.

Many other states are looking at similar legislation to protect children from these untried and permanently damaging medical. Legislatures will be watching to see if the measure is upheld in the courts, so the outcome will be important to follow.

Related articles and resources:

Arkansas Legislature Overrides Veto to Protect Gender-Confused Children from Experimental ‘Sex Change’ Procedures

Arkansas Passes Bill to Ban Puberty Blockers, Sex-Change Surgeries for Minors

British Lawsuit Says Children Are Too Young To Consent To ‘Transgender’ Medical Procedures

State Legislation Would Protect Gender-Confused Children – Here’s How You Can Help

Focus on the Family:

Broadcasts: Becoming the Woman God Made Me to BeThe Journey Back to My True Identity (Part 1 of 2)The Journey Back to My True Identity (Part 2 of 2);

Counseling for Sexual Identity Concerns: A Measured, Careful, and Compassionate Approach

Transgender Resources

Picture from Reuters.