Human Rights Campaign Slams Arkansas House for Blocking School Staff from Addressing Students By Their Preferred Pronouns

by Laurel Powell

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — slammed the Arkansas House for voting to pass HB 1468, legislation that will prohibit school staff from addressing transgender students by their preferred name and pronouns.The bill also allows staff and students to misgender and deadname one another without consequence, creating a hostile school climate that is ripe for anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.

Schools have an obligation to provide safe and affirming spaces for all studentsThis bill does little more than jeopardize the lives and dignity of LGBTQ+ students across Arkansas.We need politicians to stop making life harder on kids and do real work to ensure every child feels welcome when they enter the classroom.

Courtnay Avant, Human Rights Campaign Legislative Counsel

So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 470 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 190 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 110 bills that would prevent trans youth from being able to access age-appropriate, medically-necessary, best-practice health care; seven have already become law, in Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, South Dakota, Utah, Iowa and Georgia,
  • More bathroom ban bills filed than in any previous year,
  • More than 85 curriculum censorship bills and 40 anti-drag performance bills.

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