Arkansas may be the first State that bans gender-affirming care for trans people

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Source: ABC 57

Ariana Bruno

2021 has seen a record number of anti-trans bills introduced in state legislatures around the country, many of which target trans youth. On Monday, Arkansas passed a bill that would ban access to gender-affirming care for transgender minors. This included banning reversible puberty blockers and hormones. As of now, the bill is headed to Gov. Asa Hutchinson and unless he vetoes it, Arkansas will become the first state to ban gender-affirming care for the trans youth. Chase Strangio, a deputy director for transgender justice at the American Civil Liberties Union LGBT & HIV Project, said that the bill was “the single most extreme anti-trans law to ever pass through a state legislature.” However, Arkansas isn’t the only state with this bill. Mississippi and Tennessee have also signed similar bills.

In addition to these states, Alabama is also advancing restrictions on gender-affirming care. Alabama’s Senate has approved a bill that would make it a felony to provide care such as puberty blockers or hormones for trans minors, and in a Tennessee House Committee also advanced a similar measure that includes misdemeanor criminal penalties.

Trans people in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama have taken to social media to express their opinions, and are afraid of what the next week and months will look like as more states hear and pass anti-trans bills. Jo Yurcaba, a trans journalist said that “I really worry about the fact that we’re just a few votes away from some of the most sweeping and damaging and potentially genocidal laws from ever being passed, and we barely have a mention of it in the bigger national conversation of what’s going on in this particular moment in U.S. history.” Jo also goes on to explain that people don’t understand what gender-affirmation is, saying that the bill is mixing things up. Michele Hutchison, a pediatric doctor in Arkansas, had testified in front of the state Senate last Monday just after the bill passed the House. Hutchison claimed that there were “multiple kids in our emergency room because of an attempted suicide, just in the last week.” Alabama’s bill would also require school personnel to “out” students and tell their parents if they say their gender or sex is inconsistent with their assigned sex at birth.

CNN and Insider interviewed local trans people from around the area. “It’s a way of scaring anyone who’s even questioning their gender from ever mentioning it,” said Nic, 32, who lives in Cedar Point, Alabama .“You’re actually threatening these kids’ entire livelihoods by forcing them to be out to family who may not be supportive,” Nic said. Though Arkansas’ bill is heading to the governor’s desk, Jo Yurcaba said at the news conference that Intransitive will not stop fighting the bill and others that come after it.