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  • Skyla Jewell-Hammie

Arkansas Bans Healthcare for Transgender Youth



Arkansas just became the first state to ban gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. HB1570, the “Save Adolescents From Experiemintation (SAFE) Act,” states that a healthcare professional is prohibited from providing gender transition procedures to any individual under 18 years of age, according to the Arkansas State Legislature.

This bill also includes prohibiting recommendations from other healthcare professionals to continue treatment for trans youth and allows private insurers to refuse to cover gender-affirming healthcare for trans individuals of any age, according to NBC News. Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson has to formally sign the bill, according to Business Insider, and if approved, will take effect this upcoming summer.

The Senate passed the bill on Monday, March 29, 2021, and the House passed the bill earlier this month, according to Business Insider. This bill is one out of two types of legislation circulating in more than two dozen states, according to NBC News. Those considering these bills follow behind the notion of banning or restricting access from gender-affirming care for trans minors and banning trans youth from succeeding in school sports based on their gender. Governors in Mississipi, Tennessee, and Arkansas have signed bills into law based on discriminating against trans athletes, and there are a good chance southern states like Tennesse and Alabama will follow soon in banning gender-affirming procedures for trans youth. Alabama’s Senate recently approved a bill that deems providing puberty blockers, or hormones for trans minors, and procedures, a felony.

Trans lives are already being threatened regularly by trans individuals being abducted and beaten by ignorance. Black and Brown trans lives, in particular, are being targeted. Black transgender and gender non-conforming people are one of the highest discriminated against in the LGBTQ+ community. Black Lives Matter can’t matter until Black trans lives are included and looked out for. This bill is just another reminder of the pure ignorance that lies within the justice system of cisgender, white males.

Michele Hutchison, a pediatric doctor in Arkansas testified before the Senate on March 22. In the days after the bill was passed by the House, a Hutchison reported multiple children in her emergency room because of attempted suicide cases. Once passed, Arkansas trans youth who were previously receiving care before the bill was passed, will lose it. This also applies to Alabama trans youth who were receiving gender-affirming care before the bill was passed. Alabama’s controversial bill also states that school personnel is “required” to “out” students to their parents if the school believes their gender or sex is inconsistent with their birth certificate, according to NBC News.

Furthermore, Alabama and Arkansas are just a few states who are blatantly targeting trans youth and ripping their basic human rights from them. I ask, if “all lives matter,” why doesn’t that consist of trans individuals?



References

“HB1570 — TO CREATE THE ARKANSAS SAVE ADOLESCENTS FROM EXPERIMENTATION (SAFE) ACT.” HB1570 Bill Information — Arkansas State Legislature, www.arkleg.state.ar.us/Bills/Detail?id=HB1570&ddBienniumSession=2021%2F2021R&Search=. Yurcaba, Jo. “Arkansas Passes Bill to Ban Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 29 Mar. 2021, www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/arkansas-passes-bill-ban-gender-affirming-care-trans-youth-n1262412.




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