by HRC Staff •
“It’s Outrageous that Politicians Who Lack Even the Most Basic Medical Training Are Now Legislating Their Personal Beliefs Onto the People They Are Supposed to Serve"
Little Rock, Arkansas — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — is outraged that Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has signed into law SB 199, legislation that makes medical providers liable for providing age-appropriate, best practice, gender affirming care supported by every credible medical organization – organizations that represent over 1.3 million doctors in the United States. This law additionally requires medical providers to give false information to patients and their families regarding gender affirming care.
Gender-affirming care is age-appropriate care that is medically necessary for the well-being of many transgender and non-binary people who experience symptoms of gender dysphoria, or distress that results from having one’s gender identity not match their sex assigned at birth. Gender-affirming care is the integration of medical, mental health and social services. For transgender children, transition is an entirely social process which may include a new name or pronouns, wearing different clothes or styling one’s hair differently. At puberty, doctors may – in consultation with and having the informed consent of the transgender youth and their parents – prescribe reversible medication known as puberty-blockers, which allow a young person to safely reach an age in which they’re truly able to consent to further treatment.
Human Rights Campaign Arkansas State Director Eric Reece issued the following statement today:
“It’s outrageous that politicians who lack even the most basic medical training are now legislating their personal beliefs onto the people they are supposed to serve. Decisions about what age-appropriate, best practice medical care – care that is supported by every major medical association including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics – is appropriate for a specific transgender youth should be left up to that individual with their family and their doctors. All patients should have access to factual information rather than political propaganda about their care options.”
“HRC along with its coalition partners were scheduled to meet with the Governor's office today at 3:00 PM Central Time. The meeting would have allowed the Governor to meet with families, and receive critical compelling information from medical professionals and policy experts. The Governor has acted irresponsibly by signing this bill without hearing from those impacted and actual medical experts. This law will HURT Arkansans.”
This law is one of many dangerous efforts far right political extremists and national anti-LGBTQ+ organizations are launching in Arkansas and across the country against transgender youth and their families. So far in 2023, HRC is tracking more than 410 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.
So far 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; four have already become law, in 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 FACTS ABOUT GENDER AFFIRMING CARE
“Transition-related” or “gender-affirming” care looks different for every transgender and non-binary person.
Parents, their kids, and doctors make decisions together, and no medical interventions with permanent consequences happen until a transgender person is old enough to give truly informed consent.
Some people take medication, and some do not; some adults have surgeries, and others do not. How someone transitions is their choice, to be made with their family and their doctor.
Therapists, parents and health care providers work together to determine which changes to make at a given time that are in the best interest of the child.
None of this care is irreversible.
Some say it can feel like being transgender is very new – but that’s because the media has been covering it more in recent months and years.
But transgender people have always existed and will continue to exist regardless of the bills we pass.
And very few transgender people change their mind.
Supported by all major medical organizations
Made in consultation with medical and mental health professionals AND parents
A recent study from the Trevor Project provides data supporting this — transgender youth with access to gender-affirming hormone therapy have lower rates of depression and are at a lower risk for suicide.
For more information, please visit https://www.hrc.org/resources/get-the-facts-on-gender-affirming-care
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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