Little Rock, Arkansas — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — condemned today’s passage of legislation (HB1156) in the Arkansas House that prohibits K-12 students from using public school bathrooms consistent with their gender identity. The bill now heads to the Arkansas Senate.
Human Rights Campaign Arkansas State Director Eric Reece issued the following statement today:
“The Arkansas politicians who voted for this bill should be ashamed of themselves. This bill solves no problems and won’t do anything to make life better for the folks who live here. The only thing it will accomplish is to demonize trans kids, make them feel less safe at school, and make their lives even harder than they already are. Schools should be safe and welcoming places for all kids. The Arkansas Senate should refuse to send this bill to the Governor’s desk.”
Across the country, anti-equality politicians are working to pass bills to discriminate against and disrupt the lives of transgender people. By making it impossible for doctors to provide care for their patients, transgender youth are denied the age-appropriate, best practice, medically-necessary, gender-affirming care that one study found reduces the risk of moderate or severe depression by 60% and suicidality by 73%.
Since the reviled HB2 was passed, and subsequently partially-repealed, in North Carolina, only three states - Tennessee, Alabama, and Oklahoma - have passed legislation mandating anti-transgender discrimination in bathrooms. Should Arkansas pass this discriminatory legislation into law, it will put schools in a position of having to choose between complying with federal civil rights laws, including the United States Constitution and Title IX, and complying with discriminatory state law.
While “bathroom bills'' were very popular in 2016, the international condemnation heaped upon HB2 dissuaded many other states — including Texas — from advancing their own legislation. The Associated Press projected that HB2 passed in 2016 could have cost North Carolina $3.76 billion over 10 years from loss of business opportunities and impact the lives of countless students. Furthermore, legislation attacking transgender refuses to serve the major interests and needs of communities and families, who now pay the price as the consequences of failed leadership across the state. Transgender youth are denied their right to a public education when they’re preventing from accessing restroom facilities consistent with their gender identity, and “bathroom bills” are a violation of both Title IX and the U.S. Constitution.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ+ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.
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