Parents, LGBTQ advocates speak out on Arkansas bills targeting transgender Faith

Parents, LGBTQ advocates speak out on Arkansas bills targeting transgender Faith

01 April 2021 Thursday 10:12
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Parents, LGBTQ advocates speak out on Arkansas bills targeting transgender Faith

Dozens of bills that LGBTQ advocates state would influence transgender faith are being contemplated in states across the country this past year. Arkansas is one of several to pass these measures up to now, with two statements signed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson within the past week and a third -- called the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act -- currently sitting on his desk.

Sponsors say these kinds of bills are supposed to protect minors, who they say are too young to make conclusions about transition-related healthcare, while LGBTQ rights groups say the legislation is harmful and unnecessary for trans youth.

For months, Joanna Brandt has felt like she's an"elephant sitting on my chest." The River Valley resident has a 15-year-old transgender son, Dylan, who's currently undergoing hormone therapy. When the SAFE Act was enacted, he'd need to pause his treatment until he's 18.

"It is incredibly trying to not understand what's going to happen," Brandt told ABC News.

Dylan began his treatment after several months of treatment and with the advice of a medical professional with expertise in the region, according to Brandt, who also noted,"We're not experimenting with these kids."

"Decisions about these children's healthcare should absolutely 100 percent be up to medical professionals and their parents along with them, and not at the hands of lawmakers which are not experts on the topic."

Chris Attig, an attorney based in Little Rock who is the dad of a transgender college student, states a provision of this invoice where an insurer may choose not to pay the expenses of gender transition procedures at any age is also worrisome.

"We don't know if we are going to have the ability to keep our medical insurance policy," Attig, who testified before the House and Senate from the bill this month before it passed on Monday, told ABC News. "I don't understand what's gonna happen. As a business owner, it is a problem."

In a press briefing Tuesday, Hutchinson said he intended to meet and listen to people before selecting signing.

The passage of the SAFE Act comes days following Hutchinson signed two laws that the ACLU of Arkansas billed would allow discrimination based on gender equality. One bans transgender girls from competing school sports groups consistent with their gender identity; another allows medical doctors to refuse nonemergency medical treatment to a patient based on religious or moral objections.

The Senate defended signing those legislation, saying Tuesday that the sport invoice"made sense to me."

"It just simply says that if you are a biological male, you cannot compete against girls in sports," he said. "I think that shouldn't be a sign to anyone that they are going to be more oppressed in life"

Hutchinson said he doesn't expect the medical right-of-conscience behave to be exercised quite often, and that transgender people are going to have the ability to have the health care that they need.

"It is very important that it does not allow everyone to discriminate according to a class of persons," he explained. "That would be against national law."

LGBTQ urges in Arkansas say the quantity of laws impacting transgender individuals this year has been harmful.

"There's a lot of frustration, a lot of pain," Rumba Yambú, manager of Intransitive, that affirms trans people in Arkansas, told ABC News.

Intransitive has been employed to attract people to testify before the state legislature against the invoices.

"It's important for our community to be in a position to be the ones whose voices are heard during those hearings, and for them to feel encouraged," Yambú explained.

Additional Arkansas state legislation now under consideration that Intransitive is speaking out against includes a House bill that would call for public school employees to handle pupils by the title and gender designated in their birth certificate.

While she waits to see what becomes of the SAFE Act,'' Brandt said she and her family are considering their own options.

"I have a home and a business, friends, family here, but how can I stay someplace that clearly doesn't want us?" She said. "Dylan would be devastated if all the progress he has left came to a screeching halt."

Attig said it feels like the state is targeting his little one.

"I really don't know how to describe that feeling," he explained. "it is a feeling of only being demeaned, it is a sense of just powerlessness."

Brandt said her community has been largely supportive, and she's heard from people they don't agree with the SAFE Act.

"I know that is not how everybody here feels, although right this second it seems like it," she said.

Attig had one message in particular he wanted to share.

"Trans people belong in Arkansas," he said. "We love them, they are loved and we want them "



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