I was shocked and disheartened to see that the Arkansas legislature recently passed a bill prohibiting gender-affirming medical care to trans youth in Arkansas.
This bill is a tragic indicator of this country’s antiquated ideas regarding gender identities and is a blatant attack on human rights. It is direct, gender-based discrimination and likely violates federal laws protecting against discrimination of that sort.
I find it abhorrent that necessary health-care options, a universal human right, was taken away from those, already living lives much more difficult than my own. As someone who conforms to society’s distorted perceptions of what “normal” looks like — i.e., a wealthy, white, cisgender, hetero male — I have access medical care covering everything I could possibly need in life. I didn’t receive health care because I was more deserving, I received it because I was born into an identity of privilege. There is no reason that I should benefit from these options while others struggle to find safe access to necessary medical care.
As someone who has never had to grapple with the challenges of being transgender in our cisnormative society, I do not have the authority to make vital health decisions for trans youth — and neither do these legislators. While the bill is based on the idea that these trans youth are too young to make major medical decisions, in actuality they are the only people capable of making those decisions. The only voices that truly matter are those who these actions would unjustly impact.
Everyone should have access to health care, regardless of who they are or what they believe. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson should reject the bill and set a clear precedent against anti-trans legislation.