US state of Arkansas approves bill denying treatment to transgender minors

If enacted, the bill would be the first of its kind to prevent gender confirming treatments in the United States

Published: Mar 30, 2021, 14.08 (IST)

The Arkansas Senate in the United States recently approved measures to ban gender confirming treatments for minors in the state. The Senate, with a Republican majority, voted 28-7 in support of the legislation on Monday, then forwarding the bill to the governor in the face of mounting criticism.

If enacted, the bill would be the first of its kind to prevent gender confirming treatments in the United States. Doctors would be prohibited from providing gender-confirming hormone treatment including surgery to minors. They would also be barred from referring the patients to other doctors.

“This bill sets out to protect children in an area where they very much need protection,” Republican Senator Alan Clark, a sponsor of the bill said before the voting began.

But critics including social workers, paediatricians, and even the parents of transgender youth claim that the measure will have the opposite effect of what Clark claims. The community is already highly susceptible to depression and suicide.

Now, the measure will go to Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, who has not yet revealed whether he supports the bill. He now has four days to sign or veto the legislation before it becomes law without his signature.

Many states including Arkansas have taken out legislation targeting transgender people in the recent past. States of Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee recently enacted measures to prevent transgender girls and women from competing in school sports teams that are in sync with their gender identity.

In fact, just on Friday, Hutchinson signed a law allowing doctors to deny treatment to someone based on religious or moral grounds. Critics see this as a way for doctors to turn LGBTQIA+ patients away.

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