“Having the support of my dad has meant the world to me, but there’s only so much that he can control. I’ve known I’m a boy for most of my life and it feels good when my dad and others treat me like the person I know I am. I finally have access to the medical care that I need and beginning to feel less depressed and fearful and the thought of losing it all is terrifying to me. I cannot go back to the version of life when I did not have this care. ” – Parker Saxton
Parker is 16 years old and lives with his dad, Donnie, who has lived in Arkansas his entire life.
When Parker was around 13 years old, he came out to his father as transgender in a letter.
Donnie was not surprised when he received the letter. Parker had already taken steps to change his appearance—he had cut his hair short when he was eleven, and, starting in the seventh grade, dressed exclusively in clothes traditionally viewed as being masculine. And Donnie could see that Parker was uncomfortable in his body. He was struggling since pre-school when he would tell Donnie he didn’t want to be a girl.
Donnie had not really known what being transgender meant before that moment. He wanted to support his child and read not only the letter but other items that Parker shared with him. Parker eventually told his Dad that he needed to explore accessing medical care to try to manage the distress he was feeling as a result of his gender dysphoria. He began to receive some medical treatment to affirm his gender and minimize his distress but now, because of HB 1570, his access to care is on the line.
This has real consequences for Parker, who has severe distress and has faced significant trauma in the world because of his gender dysphoria. His discomfort with his body inhibits Parker’s ability to use public restrooms or wear bathing suits. Much of this distress could be relieved with treatment but now that treatment is being banned by lawmakers.
Donnie doesn’t know what the family will do if the law takes effect and he cannot get Parker gender-affirming care and is fearful for his son.