The ACLU has filed a lawsuit on behalf of four transgender youth and their families as well as two doctors, challenging a law passed in April that meant Arkansas became the first American state to ban the provision of gender-affirming treatments and surgery for transgender youth. The lawsuit is the first legal challenge to a panoply of anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ bills passed in Republican-controlled state legislatures.
In April, as reported by The Daily Beast, Arkansas’ legislature voted to override Governor Asa Hutchinson’s veto of House Bill 1570, which bans transition care for trans minors, prohibiting doctors from providing gender-affirming hormone treatment, puberty blockers or surgery to anyone under 18 years old, or from referring them to other providers for the treatment.
“This law would be devastating to trans youth and their families, forcing many to uproot their lives and leave the state to access the gender-affirming care they need,” Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas executive director, said in a statement. Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice with the ACLU's LGBTQ & HIV Project, said the lawsuit was the first of “several” the ACLU and partner organizations would be filing “over the course of the next few months to make it clear that there is a robust movement of trans people and allies fighting for trans justice.”
While Hutchinson tried and failed to scupper HB 1570, he signed Senate Bill 354 into law on March 25, preventing trans girls and women from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity. He also signed a law allowing doctors to refuse to treat someone because of religious or moral objections.