58 trans celebrities, elected officials, and notable people – including Elliot Page, Jazz Jennings, Miss Major, and Delaware state Sen. Sarah McBride (D) – have joined the Transgender Legal Defense and Education fund to file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a case fighting to overturn a discriminatory Arkansas law.
The Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act (SAFE) passed in March after the legislature overrode Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s (R) veto. It banned doctors from providing gender-affirming care of any kind to trans youth, including hormone therapy and reversible puberty blockers.
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Organizations or facilities providing gender-affirming care can lose state funding, state-operated health insurance can no longer cover such care, and doctors that continue to provide such care will risk losing their license by doing so.
Four families and two doctors are fighting this law in the case of Brandt et al. v. Rutledge et al. Those plaintiffs were able to get a temporary injunction issued against the law and LGBTQ Nation readers chose them as 2021 Hero Defending the Children.
Those involved in the friend-of-the-court brief supporting the case are all trans adults who have received gender-affirming care.
In the brief, Page describes what it felt like to receive top surgery.
“I couldn’t believe the amount of energy I had, ideas, how my imagination flourished, because the constant discomfort and pain around that aspect of my body was gone,” he wrote.
Trans athlete Chris Mosier also wrote of the joy of receiving top surgery.
“The feeling of being able to run freely in a body that more closely matched the way I’ve always seen myself was overwhelming.”
Director Lilly Wachowski discussed the experience of what the brief describes as “gender euphoria,” the act of finally feeling comfortable in one’s own body.
“When I started living as my true self, I would sometimes catch short sharp glimpses of my reflection in windows and cars as I’d walk along or ride my bike. It would make my heart skip a beat. The silhouette of my shadow on the ground cast by the afternoon sun was exhilarating and life affirming. If no one else did, the Sun saw me as I am.”
The brief argues that gender-affirming care is live saving and says the idea that youth should not receive it directly contradicts the lived experiences of the signatories.
It ended with words of longtime trans activist Cecilia Gentili declaring that it’s time to listen to trans youth.
“Transgender youth know who they are, and they know what they need. Our job is to listen to them.”