ACLU files lawsuit challenging SAFE Act; family in the lawsuit speaks out


BENTONVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Families across northwest Arkansas and the River Valley are asking a federal judge to strike down the recently passed SAFE Act surrounding healthcare for transgender youth.

This legislative session, Rep. Robin Lundstrum (R-87) introduced a bill to prohibit doctors from providing gender confirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgeries to anyone under 18 years old, or referring them to other providers for the treatment.

Amanda Dennis is the mom of a transgender daughter. She said as a result of the recent legislation, her family would either have to move or travel out of state for treatment.

“It’s devastating to think about leaving a home that we love,” Dennis said. “We love where we live, we love this state.”

The law was passed by the state House and Senate but vetoed by Governor Asa Hutchinson. The Republican Legislature then overrode that veto.

Lundstrum said many kids often decide they are comfortable with their gender after puberty.

“Why are we pushing kids towards taking drugs when they’re going to turn out just fine with some good old fashioned love and quality counseling that lets those kids be themselves?”

Lundstrum also said she sponsored this bill out of safety concerns.

“There’s cardiovascular disease, there’s cerebrovascular disease,” Lundstrum said. “There’s obviously growth issues because you’re doing two different things: puberty blockers plus the cross-sex hormones.”

Dennis, however, said doctors have told her otherwise and she believes these treatments could be the safest thing for her daughter- mentally and emotiionally.

“For us it was like, ‘We have to do this, we have to protect her,'” Dennis said. “We’ve always told our children, ‘We will do everything to protect you,’ and this is our way of doing that.”

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