Gender affirming care gave my daughter a future. Lawmakers want to remove it.

Four families of transgender youth and two doctors have challenged an Arkansas law that would prohibit health professionals from providing or even referring transgender youth to necessary medical care. A judgment started last week. Here, one of our plaintiffs shares how the law would affect his daughter and her family.

My husband, Aaron, and I are raising our three daughters in Arkansas. All of our family and community are here and we love our home state.

My oldest daughter, Sabrina, is transgender and the medical treatment she has received for her gender dysphoria has been life changing. At one point, Sabrina withdrew from the world. She was anxious and unsure of herself and was battling severe dysphoria. Today, Sabrina is safe and has hope for her future and a joy that we had not seen in her before she started this care. We are fighting to ensure the medical treatment she has given her the life she has today.

Sabrina Jenn

Sabrina Jenn

Credit: Frog Young

When Sabrina was younger and before she began receiving medical treatment for her gender dysphoria, she expressed to us, to the best of her ability at the time, that she didn’t see a future for herself and didn’t know why. As parents, we were in agony watching her struggle. We saw her as a brilliant, gifted mind, with a very gentle soul. It was heartbreaking that she didn’t see the beautiful person that we saw in her.

After she spoke to us and began receiving medical treatment for her gender dysphoria, we began to notice her confidence. She began to smile again and found joy in shopping for and designing clothes not only for herself, but for her two sisters as well. She loves to swap clothes and accessories, which is really fun to watch. She is also a talented artist who has created some pretty amazing self-portraits that emphasize her gorgeous red curls. Sabrina, once a very shy, reserved and unhappy person, is now our self-assured social butterfly who loves a good selfie opportunity.

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As a mother, I never imagined that I would have to fight for my daughter to receive medically necessary care. I never imagined having to watch my daughter suffer and then get better only to have lawmakers take away the treatment she needs.

As a mother, I never imagined that I would have to fight for my daughter to receive medically necessary care.

The state of Arkansas has suggested that people are rushing into this care, but nothing could be further from the truth for us. My husband and I are very careful and considerate people. We had many long and serious discussions with each other, with Sabrina, and with her medical providers. We prayed for the decisions we all had to make as a family.

Arkansas is our home. We have lived here our entire lives and our parents, siblings, grandparents, the church and the entire support system are here in Arkansas. We don’t want to have to leave our home just to provide necessary medical care for our daughter.

Sabrina is an amazing person, smart, beautiful and an amazing daughter. I wish the politicians who passed this law would take the time to listen to the experiences of trans youth and meet people like our daughter. I cannot imagine that someone who has really come to know and understand how this care has impacted Sabrina could take actions that would jeopardize her joy, her smile, and her sense of possibility for her future.