Little Rock, Arkansas — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — slammed Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders today for signing HB1156, a new state law that will prohibit students from using school bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.
Human Rights Campaign Arkansas State Director Eric Reece issued the following statement today:
“The Governor has stated that her goal is to protect Arkansas children. Enacting HB1156 will do just the opposite -- this law will harm Arkansas transgender youth. This is another despicable effort by extremist politicians to alienate kids who are just trying to navigate their childhoods. Stopping kids from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identity will not do anything to create jobs, lower costs, or make life easier on Arkansas families. This bill should have never reached the Governor's desk, and she should be ashamed for signing it into law."
Across the country, anti-equality politicians are working to pass bills to discriminate against and disrupt the lives of transgender people. Since the reviled HB2 was passed, and subsequently partially-repealed, in North Carolina, only three states – Tennessee, Alabama, Idaho, and Oklahoma – have passed legislation mandating anti-transgender discrimination in bathrooms.
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 prevented from accessing restroom facilities consistent with their gender identity, and “bathroom bills” are a violation of both Title IX and the U.S. Constitution.
So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 420 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. Approximately 180 of those bills would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date.
This year, HRC is tracking:
More than 100 bills that would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; five have already become law, in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Utah,
More bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year,
More than 80 curriculum censorship bills and 35 anti-drag performance bills.
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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