Asa Hutchinson, the Governor of Arkansas, has signed the anti-trans Senate Bill 354 into law, preventing trans girls and women from playing school sports consistent with their gender identity—the latest in a rash of legislative attacks against trans people across the U.S.
“This law simply says that female athletes should not have to compete in a sport against a student of the male sex when the sport is designed for women’s competition,” Hutchinson said in a statement, misgendering the trans children he is targeting.
“Governor Hutchinson’s eagerness to sign this discriminatory legislation is an affront not just to the transgender kids it is bound to hurt but to all Arkansans who will be impacted by its consequences,” Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said. “Transgender kids are kids who just want to play, and they deserve that chance. The fact that neither Governor Hutchinson nor the legislators who voted to pass this bill have named a single example of what they are legislating against underscores that this is simply a politically motivated bill for the sake of discrimination itself.”
HRC says there are so far 174 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. “Of those, 95 directly target transgender people and about half of those would, like SB 354, ban trans girls from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity,” a statement from HRC said.
“This is devastating and means we have to up our outrage and mobilize to stop the deadly health care bill. Tell him he MUST veto HB 1570,” Chase Strangio, deputy director for transgender justice at the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBT & HIV Project, said in a tweet, referring to the next piece of anti-trans legislation Hutchinson may ratify—the “Arkansas Save Adolescents from Experimentation Act.”
This bill would ban gender transition procedures for Arkansans under the age of 18, including prescribing medications.