Arkansas has passed a bill banning transgender minors from access to healthcare

According to the Human Rights Campaign, Republicans have introduced a record 127 bills on transgender issues this year, across 22 states. 

This week, legislators in Arkansas have approved a bill which states that transgender children will be denied gender-affirming healthcare.

The bill, which has now been sent to the governor, was voted for on Monday, and saw The Senate vote in favour of the legislation 28 to seven.

The bill proposes a total ban on healthcare provision for trans minors under the age of eighteen. This would include a ban on doctors providing hormone treatment or surgery to minors, and a ban on doctors referring any minors for treatment.

It also stipulates that insurers have the right to refuse to cover gender-affirming care for trans individuals of all ages.

These treatments have all been endorsed by well-known medical associations, like the American Academy of Pediatrics, highlighting no medical concern.

Similarly, they’re backed by human rights activists like The American Civil Liberties Union, who urge governors to see how much gender-affirming healthcare improves the mental wellbeing of young, vulnerable trans children.

The bill, understandably, has been widely criticised.

So, what next? The bill has to be approved or rejected by Asa Hutchinson, the state’s governor, within the next five days. If he does neither, it will become law without his backing. He is a Republican who has previously shown support for similar anti-trans bills.

He also signed a bill on Friday which gives doctors the right to refuse to treat a patient ‘because of religious or moral objections.’ Several LGBTQ+ activists have pointed out that this could be used to deny members of their community the care they need.

Sadly, there are several other bills restricting trans rights emerging all over South America. In the states of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee, they’ve passed bills restricting trans women from participating in school sports teams of the gender they identify.

The stats are quite shocking. Conservative legislators have proposed more bills aimed to restrict trans rights so far this year than ever before. According to the Human Rights Campaign, one of the biggest LGBTQ+ organisations in the US, Republicans have introduced a record 127 bills on transgender issues this year, across 22 states.

This makes 2021 the year the US saw the most anti-trans legislation bills filed in a single year.

To show your support for trans youth, you can share your stance on your social platform or call or email Arkansas Governor Hutchinson on 501-682-2345 or at asking him to veto HB 1570. For a more general guide to supporting trans youth, do visit the Stonewall website, where their guide to showing your support is insightful.

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