The Arkansas Legislature is waging an all-out assault on LGBTQ Arkansans, and specifically trans youth. The hateful attacks on LGBTQ Arkansans just keep coming – with efforts to ban transgender students from school sports (Senate Bill 354), ban medically necessary care for trans kids (House Bill 1570), and allow medical providers to refuse to provide care for almost any reason, including on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (Senate Bill 289). Other bills - including proposed constitutional amendments - seek to elevate religious liberty above all other rights and license discrimination under the guise of religion or conscience.
Many of these measures target trans youth, an already vulnerable group that experiences high rates of depression and suicide. During a recent hearing, parents of transgender kids pleaded with legislators not to subject their children to additional shame and stigma. Their testimony echoed the concerns of leading health and child welfare organizations, who issued an open letter calling on state legislators not to target LGBTQ people, and transgender children in particular. But most Arkansas legislators ignored these pleas. Now is the time to make our voices hard and tell the Arkansas Legislature to protect trans kids, not target them.