Arkansas Lawmakers Ain't Gonna Let Some So-Called 'Veto' Stop Them From Hurting Trans Kids
Well, if Arkansas GOP Governor Asa Hutchinson's goal was to keep his lily-white hands clean, so big business doesn't come a-callin' and accusin' HIM of bein' mean to transgender kids, then mission ... nah, his hands are not clean. We all see what just happened.
As we expected, and as Hutchinson himself predicted, the Arkansas legislature has overridden Hutchinson's veto of HB 1570, the first-of-its-kind bill the lege passed to ban life-saving gender-confirming healthcare for transgender kids.
If this law goes into effect, kids will likely die.
Think we are exaggerating? As Business Insider explained:
Studies have shown children who are unable to access gender-affirming care experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide than trans youth with supportive doctors and families. A 2020 study published in Pediatrics found the earlier transgender youth get care, the less likely they are to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts.
So we are not exaggerating.
Lawsuits are coming, of course.
Of course, the Arkansas lege can override a governor's veto with a simple majority, but had they needed more, there are clearly enough bigots in the lege to create a super-majority. The vote to override Hutchinson's veto in the state House was 72 to 25, and in the Senate, it was 25 to eight. That's right, in Arkansas, they are SERIOUS about making sure trans kids know they're not welcome to exist.
If you'll remember, this bill really puts white conservative legislators in kids' pants, banning their doctors from giving them any kind of gender-confirming treatment, the kind of treatment that's recommended by groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the Endocrine Society, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Hutchinson thought the bill was too broad, indicating he would have supported a just right version that didn't screw trans kids quite so much, but rather screwed them just enough. As he said when he signed it, "If this was just to ban gender reassignment then I would support it, but those who are taking treatment are not grandfathered in, this is not the right path to put them on." So don't say he doesn't have any compassion.
The governor has of course also just recently signed a bill banning trans kids from youth sports, and another one allowing doctors and other healthcare professionals to refuse to treat people for very important moral conscience reasons, which is just a license to refuse LGBTQ+ people medical care.
Like we said, the lawsuits are coming. We'll just leave you with this statement from Holly Dickson, the director of the ACLU in Arkansas, so you can see how pissed they are.
"Today Arkansas legislators disregarded widespread, overwhelming, and bipartisan opposition to this bill and continued their discriminatory crusade against trans youth. As Governor Hutchinson noted in his veto message, denying care to trans youth can lead to harmful and life-threatening consequences. This is a sad day for Arkansas, but this fight is not over — and we're in it for the long haul. Attempting to block trans youth from the care they need simply because of who they are is not only wrong, it's also illegal, and we will be filing a lawsuit to challenge this law in court. We are hearing from concerned families all over the state who are afraid about the impact of this bill and others like it. We are committed to doing all we can to support these families and ensure they know how to continue to fight for their rights and get the care and resources they need. "No matter what these politicians do or say, one thing has not changed: trans youth are loved, they are seen, and we will never stop fighting to defend their dignity, their rights and their lives. To everyone who spoke out against this bill: now is the time to stay loud, not only for trans lives, but for all the fundamental rights that politicians are hellbent on attacking."
Sue the living shit out of them.
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