Arkansas Legislation Targets Transgender Youth Community


Grayce Nelson

People who are a part of the transgender community are from all walks of life. There are approximately over 2 million people who identify as transgender in the United States. They are represented in all racial and ethnic backgrounds. The word transgender is a term for people whose gender identity is different from their birth assignment.  Their rights have been debated for quite a long time, especially when in regards to trans healthcare. The current debate right now is should the government be able to decide on a medical decision or what’s best for a trans person’s life? In my opinion, medical decisions should be made by trans youths, their parents and the physician–not politicians or the government. 


Recently, Arkansas has become the first state to ban physicians from giving out hormones or puberty-delaying drugs to transgender people who are under the age of 18. Doctors who will go against this law could potentially be stripped of their license and sued. This law is called the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act. Before it was official, Governor Asa Hutchinson attempted to veto the bill, but days later the Republican legislators overturned his veto. During a press conference, Hutchinson stated, “Now, I am being attacked by some of my Republican colleagues for not being pure enough on social issues and for vetoing a bill that limited access to health care for transgender youth.” The House and Senate voted to override his veto on a bill banning gender-affirming treatments for transgender minors in the state.


What does this mean for the state of Arkansas? How will this affect young trans teens who are residents of Arkansas? Manjoban Kaur, an NLRHS student says, “We will lack progression as a state, along with a community. To me personally, I don’t think a government official should have a say in what a transgender person can or can’t do with their body. If there HAS to be a say, it should be between the doctor and the patient.” She adds, “I think this bill will continue to have a terrible effect on the LGBTQ+ community primarily due to the lack of freedom they endure.”


I will have to agree with Manjoban on this one. In my opinion, I feel like this bill will set Arkansas back a few steps since we are the first state doing this. I also believe that this will have a grim effect on the LGBTQ+ community, specifically the trans community because they lose more and more rights which is totally unfair. I feel like the government is being selfish and only thinking about their personal beliefs and not the beliefs of others. I don’t think the government should have a say in people’s personal or private medical decisions because it has nothing to do with them.