Laura Perry Smalts

This content was last updated Nov. 15, 2023, 10:54 p.m. UTC

Laura Perry Smalts is an anti-trans activist in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Smalts’ nearly decade-long struggle with her gender identity and conversion to Christianity have been used as justification to restrict access to gender-affirming care for youth in several states. Smalts has written books about her experiences and spoken at various religious institutions, usually with the intent to spread a message of regret and fear regarding transgender health care.

Legislative Testimony

In 2022, Smalts appeared as a witness for the defense in Brandt et al v. Rutledge et al, a lawsuit filed by the ACLU against the state of Arkansas for denying trans-affirming healthcare to minors. During her testimony, Smalts described how she decided to discontinue gender-affirming hormones as a result of God speaking directly to her, along with other religious beliefs that led to her decision. Under cross examination she admitted she continues to struggle with the symptoms of gender dysphoria. Smalts had never lived in the state of Arkansas and had no experience with seeking gender-affirming care as a minor.

Smalts has also filed amicus curiae briefs in Alabama’s Reverend Eknes-Tucker v. Marshall, regarding the state’s restrictions on gender-affirming care for minors, and North Carolina’s Kadel v. Folwell, a lawsuit in response to the state restricting transgender employees from using their employee-provided health plan to seek care.

Early Life and Transition

Smalts described her struggle with her gender identity during testimony for Brandt et al v. Rutledge et al. She noted feeling signs of dysphoria as early as age 5, but did not find resources to seek treatment until 25 years old. Following therapy and consideration, Smalts pursued gender-affirming hormones and eventually sought affirming surgeries at around age 30. She noted feeling conflicted for several years afterwards and, around age 34, claims that God spoke to her directly and asked her to cease hormone therapy.

Written Works and Public Appearances

Following her conversion to Christianity in 2016, Smalts wrote Transgender to Transformed, an autobiographical account of her transition and conversion.

Smalts has been a highlighted speaker at several women-oriented Christian panels and events. In a presentation on the topic of “embracing Biblical womanhood,” Smalts refers to Matt Walsh’s anti-trans documentary What Is A Woman? as justification to conflate gender and sex, and eventually falls back on biological differences caused by estrogen and testosterone to reinforce traditional gender roles. Later, she states “I had a partner that was a man living as a woman, and it was so obvious to me that he was a man. He was dressing as a woman but this was clearly a man. I kept thinking why is this not real for him, why do I still feel like this is fake, because this was long before I figured out I was the fake one too. It is all fake.”

Smalts was one of several figures interviewed for In His Image, a religious documentary that sought to “answer culturally controversial questions about gender and sexuality from a biblical perspective.” Interviewees for the documentary include anti-trans activists Walt Heyer and Michelle Cretella, among others.

Smalts’ story has been covered by various religious news outlets, including The Christian Post and Faithwire

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