Anti-Trans Legislation Passed in Arkansas

Asa Hutchinson, governor of Arkansas, pictured here

Courtesy of Wikipedia

Asa Hutchinson, governor of Arkansas, pictured here

Lily Ives, Editor in Chief

Trans rights are human rights. This is a statement that shouldn’t be radical or extreme or out of the realm of realism. However, more and more every day, this seems like an idea that will never come true. Not only are transwomen of color dying at alarming rates, but just recently the state of Arkansas passed anti-trans legislation.

As of March 30, the Arkansas senate passed a bill that bans gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors. The primary focuses of this ban would be things like hormone replacement therapy and puberty blockers, which are very common things used by trans youth to help ease things like gender dysphoria. 

This is coming to the desk of the governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson, who has shown anti-trans beliefs in the past, including passing a bill that bans trans women and girls from participating in sports correlated with their gender identity. The concern here is that Huchtinson will pass this bill. 

What I am most concerned about is what this could mean for trans youth in Arkansas and what this ban could mean for their mental health. According to the Trevor Project, trans youth are upwards of two to three times more likely to feel suicidal or to genuinely consider suicide than cis youth. The biggest reasons for this are the same reasons why other LGBTQ+ teens feel this way: it’s the feeling of being abandoned by society and feeling like you can never work with your body in order for it to be compatible with their person. 

The term gender dysphoria is a medical term that means that one’s body, in a sense of assigned sex, causes a person mental strife because it does not match what their identity is. Things like HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and puberty blockers can help to alleviate some of this, which is why it is important to keep these accessible to youth.


As of April 5, Governor Hutchinson has vetoed this bill, meaning that, for it to pass, the legislature must vote for it, in the majority. While it is exciting that he vetoed it, the fight against this bill is not over. Hopefully, with all the attention this has gotten online, legislators won’t pass it, but becoming complacent now would be a mistake. Trans rights have trailed behind the rights of other LGBTQ+ people, so it’s important to raise awareness and try to keep the rights that they do have still in place. 

As of April 18, the legislatures have bypassed this veto. Arkansas has now banned gender affirming medical care for trans youth. The extent of what this could mean for trans people is not something that we know right now, but most people have immense fears. The primary concern, as mentioned before, is that this will have a negative impact on the mental health of these people and that things like suicide rates could increase. 

This is a hard concept for cis people to understand, so let me put it this way. Imagine you find out that you are banned, by the government of your state, from receiving medical care and treatment for something like chronic pain simply because of the type of pain it is. Imagine you can’t even walk without feeling pain throughout your body. Things like gender dysphoria are like this, just on a more mental level. 

To put it simply, banning gender affirming care is going to destroy any of the progress made in the area of trans rights. I think the most alarming thing about this is what it could mean for these trans people’s lives and mental health. A big fear of mine is seeing this act as a domino effect, with anti-trans legislation getting passed in states besides just Arkansas. Only time will tell, but, to summarize, this is going to wreak havoc on trans youth.