LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK) – Families of transgender children in Arkansas are now considering moving out of the state after a law banning any kind of chemical treatment or surgery involving gender reassignment for kids under the age of 18 was passed.
One family has already made the move to New Mexico. The Spurrier family packed up and moved their lives after more than 15 years in Little Rock, crossing state lines to provide a better environment for their 17-year-old son.
“We don’t want to find out that our child has become a statistic,” George Spurrier said.
George and Emily Spurrier said their son Cas came out as transgender in 2019. They started the process of figuring out what comes next with the help of medical professionals.
“We had an endocrinologist, nurses, two therapists, a psychologist, a PCP,” Emily recalled. “I mean we had a whole team constructed.”
Just a few months ago, Cas started testosterone treatments.
“His confidence has skyrocketed,” George noted. “His voice has already started kind of deepening with the testosterone. He is himself.”
Just as the Spurriers started seeing these changes, the SAFE Act, which prohibits any kind of chemical or surgical treatment for transgender youth under 18 in Arkansas, became law.
“I think we did represent what our constituents wanted to see happen,” State Senator Dan Sullivan said after the bill was passed.
Sullivan and the law’s other supporters claimed the measure was all about keeping kids safe.
“It will protect them and make whatever decisions are best for them as they reach the age of maturity,” he said.
For Cas, though, his parents say the law would only push him backwards.
“We wouldn’t be able to stop his treatments and then pick back up on it when he turns 18,” Emily claimed.
The family decided to move to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they had family.
“I’m from New Mexico. I still have a decent amount of family here. The family I have is super supportive of people who are on the LGBT spectrum,” George explained.
George and Emily both found new jobs and settled into their new apartment a few days ago. They say they are happy to be in a place where their son can fully be himself.
On Tuesday, the ACLU of Arkansas filed a lawsuit challenging the SAFE Act. The Spurriers said they are still happy with their decision to move.
“We’re looking forward to it being a place where he can flourish,” George said.