Two former transgender people turned anti-transgender activists Wednesday stood up for the state in a federal trial seeking to determine the constitutionality of the nation’s first ban on gender-affirming treatment of minors in Arkansas. testified to
Laura Smaltz (ex-Perry) was transgender for seven years until she decided to move beyond her transgender identity after going through a process of conversion. Billy Burley described a similar conversion experience that he said helped him make the decision to demigrate after living nine years as a woman and enduring numerous surgeries.
Smaltz, from Oklahoma, testified that he transitioned to male at age 24 and remained so until he began transitioning around age 31.
“When I was a kid, I thought of myself as a man,” Smaltz said.
Growing up, Smaltz said he was jealous of his mother’s relationship with his brother and never had a relationship with a girl.
“I think it got worse when I went to school,” she said. “I realized that I didn’t get along with girls.”
A former NASA engineer, Burleigh says he was bullied as a child because he was thin and had speech and learning disabilities.
“I didn’t learn to read until fifth grade,” Burleigh said.
For years, Burley said he believed, “God made a mistake and I was supposed to be a girl.”
He explained how for years he’s shielded himself from his emotions by putting his doubts in an “emotional closet” and locking the door, but it started during his college years and made the transition. A relationship with a woman before it started was the trigger… an emotional crisis.
“The door to my emotional closet was blown,” Burley said. “I started to break down, fall apart.”
A federal bench trial is to determine the constitutionality of Arkansas Law 626 of 2021, a law that saves adolescents from experimentation. The law passed in March 2021 after both the state House and Senate voted by large margins to overturn a veto by Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The following month, it was challenged in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, and three months later, a week before the law took effect, U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr. banned it. I have issued a temporary restraining order. Enforced while the matter is in court.
A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld Moody’s injunction in August. Earlier this month, the court ruled not to take up the issue for review by the Eighth Circuit as a whole, and dismissed his motion to appeal Moody’s judgment filed by the Office of Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. The lawsuit, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of plaintiffs, alleges that the law violates the equal protection and due process provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment and the protection of free speech under the First Amendment. claim.
The plaintiffs in this action, represented by American Civil Liberties Union attorneys, are Dylan Blunt, Parker Saxton, Sabrina Genen, Brooke Dennis, and their parents, Joanna Blunt, Donnie Saxton, Aaron and Lacey Genen, Shane and Amanda Dennis, and two doctors. Dr. Michele Hutchison and Dr. Kathryn Stambough providing healthcare to his transgender teen.
The defendants in the case, represented by the state attorney general’s office legal team, include Rutledge, medical board director Amy Embry, medical board members Sylvia Simon, Robert Bleving Jr., John Scribner, Elizabeth Anderson, Lys Branman, and Edward “Ward”. Gardner, Rodney Griffin, Betty Gouman, Brian Hiatt, Timothy Padden, Don Phillips, William Rutledge, David Staggs, Verril Hodges.
In the first week of the trial, which was held the week of October 17 and then adjourned for five weeks due to scheduling conflicts, Moody received a hearing from Dylan, Joanna Blunt, Donnie Saxton, Aaron Lacy, Amanda Dennis, and both doctors. I heard the story. , along with Hutchison and Stambough, many psychiatric and medical experts have testified against Law 626.
Both Smaltz and Burleigh said they decided to stop transitioning and revert to their birth gender after undergoing a religious transition, but Burleigh made the decision some time after her 2005 conversion. said it went down.
“That was the beginning of my relationship with Jesus, to help me understand this battle in my heart,” Burley said. It wasn’t.”
Despite repeated objections from defense attorney Amanda Land, ACLU attorney Arun Bodapati said Barley, who had already undergone several transition surgeries to reconstruct his penis, would not undergo the final surgery. established a timeline of religiously-based experiences that became In 2009, Burley testified that he had begun post-transitioning, but was struggling with ongoing symptoms of gender dysphoria, coupled with guilt.
“Did you struggle from 2014 to 2017 or so?” asked Bodapati. “But did you testify that you were able to overcome those mental struggles with additional help? I did.Is that correct?”
“Yes, it’s true,” Burley asserted.
“You don’t believe that God had trouble with your transition, is that correct?” asked Bodapati.
“Exactly,” Burley replied.
“You don’t believe that it’s okay for God to transition whoever he is, do you?” asked Bodapati.
“It’s true,” Burley said.
According to Smaltz, when she decided that no matter what surgeries or treatments she had, no matter how she appeared or what her legal status was, she would never become fully male. A crisis has come.
“I didn’t want to be transgender,” she said. “I wanted to be a man.”
Smaltz said he joined a transgender support group in Tulsa about 15 years ago when he began his transgender transition, and said he identified as a man for about nine years until 2016. until she started a sex change at the age of 25.
“At that point, I wanted more than anything in my life to be a man,” she said. I wanted to turn it off.”
Smaltz testified that she had a hysterectomy and oophorectomy to remove her uterus and ovaries. However, later in her testimony, she admitted that her polycystic ovary syndrome diagnosis in high school ultimately led to surgery, and indeed her insurance paid for her polycystic ovarian syndrome diagnosis. covered surgery for
Under cross-examination, both Smaltz and Burleigh said they had testified at the General Assembly in support of Act 626 for passage as House Bill 1570. A grandfather clause to allow minors currently on hormone therapy to continue. That veto was easily overturned by both houses the next day, but in June 2021, just a week before the bill took effect, Moody granted an interim injunction blocking enforcement of the law.
The Arkansas trial has received national attention because it is the first lawsuit of its kind to challenge the limitations of gender-affirming care for minors.
As of June 2022, four states—Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, and Arizona—have recently enacted legislation banning gender affirmation care for minors, and 15 other states have 25 similar laws, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. is under consideration. At the same time, other states have adopted broad, non-discriminatory health protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation, and the Biden administration opposes restrictive state policies.
The trial continues today, with Dr. Paul Fulze, a pediatric endocrinologist in St. Louis, scheduled to testify.