“Umbrella Academy” star Elliot Page, “The Matrix” co-director Lilly Wachowski, and reality TV star Jazz Jennings, along with 55 other trans people, are supporting an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawsuit trying to block a bill that would limit healthcare access for trans youth in Arkansas.
The state’s House Bill 1570 banned puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and sex reassignment surgery for trans youth, and prohibited insurance from covering gender transition procedures for minors.
The Arkansas General Assembly voted to override Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the bill, and it was passed in March 2021, when it became known as Act 626. However, it has not been put into effect after a successful ACLU lawsuit filed in May.
Now the ACLU is seeking to overturn the law completely, with the help of well-known members of the trans community.
The 31-page brief filed Jan. 19, which was signed by Page, Wachowski and Jennings, et al. argues why gender-affirming care is so crucial, especially before and during adolescence.
Jennings, who has documented her transition on TLC’s “I Am Jazz” since 2015, shared how grateful she is to have received gender-affirming treatment when she hit puberty and to have since received hormone treatments. “I never looked masculine. I developed alongside my peers as a female teenager. I was able to lead a happy childhood because I was able to live as the girl I knew I was,” Jennings, now 21 and a student at Harvard, wrote in the brief.
Wachowski, whose work includes the Netflix series “Sense8,” wrote that her “films at their core try to center love and connectivity” and that she is “proud to have lifted up” queer and transgender voices “in front of as well as behind the camera.”
Page, who came out as transmasc in December 2020, wrote about his own personal experience, saying that receiving top surgery was crucial to his mental well-being: “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.
Wachowski’s sister Lana revealed her transition in 2010, while her sister Lilly announced that she is a transgender woman in 2016.
At the time, Lilly said in a statement to the Chicago LGBT newspaper Windy City Times, “Being transgender is not easy… I am one of the lucky ones. Having the support of my family and the means to afford doctors and therapists has given me the chance to actually survive this process. Transgender people without support, means and privilege do not have this luxury. And many do not survive.”
The Advocate first reported this story.