Civil Rights

Jennifer Steel's oldest son is transgender. She says the last couple of months have left her family hurt, sad, angry, disgusted and confused as the Arkansas legislature has passed several laws trans advocates say unfairly target the trans community. But Steel says, she still has hope and there are ways Arkansans can step up to show trans children they have their support.

Courtesy / InTRANSitive Arkansas

A proposed Arkansas law to protect teachers and school administrators who misgender public school and college students is expected to be approved by the state legislature. House Bill 1749, which prohibits requiring public school and college employees from identifying students by genders inconsistent with a student’s biological sex, was approved by the House and is now being considered by the Senate.

Courtesy / Instagram

Professional cycling athletes put their support for Arkansas's transgender community on display this weekend at the first round of the U.S. Cup Olympic qualifier events in Fayetteville. Ellen Noble, who races for Trek Bikes and Red Bull, donned temporary tattoos of the LGBTQ and trans flags on her legs during the short track race. She says she wanted to make it clear she opposes the laws that have been passed in Arkansas.

Courtesy / Anya Bruhin

Experience Fayetteville, the city's tourism bureau, as well as cycling event organizers and organizations say they're concerned about the recent calls for boycotts and venue changes after the Arkansas legislature passed several bills they say unfairly target the state's transgender community. A representative of NWA Equality says the LGBTQ is not endorsing boycotts at this time, but is encouraging donations to organizations like the ACLU and Human Rights Campaign, which plan to fight the laws in court.

Courtesy / Arkansas General Assembly

By a simple majority, Republican members of the Arkansas House and Senate voted Tuesday to overturn a veto issued the previous day by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of a bill banning gender-affirming medical care for trans youth. The governor said the law is extreme and places children at risk. Arkansas is now the first state in the nation to enact such a ban.

Courtesy / Evelyn Rios Stafford

Evelyn Rios Stafford, who is a Washington County Justice of the Peace and the first openly transgender elected official in Arkansas, met with Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday after the state legislature passed the SAFE Act, or House Bill 1570, the day before. The bill would ban minors from receiving gender-affirming healthcare and penalize doctors who attempt to provide it. The governor has not yet signed or vetoed the bill.

Senate Bill 354, the “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” was signed into law by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson last week. The new law bars transgender women and girls from participating in publicly-funded school and college sports. We get reaction from both the Human Rights Campaign and ACLU of Arkansas for reaction and discuss the potentially consequences of the legislation.

Courtesy / Jewel Hayes

Arkansas House Bill 1749, filed by Rep. Mary Bentley, R-Perryville, would require public school teachers, administrators and staff to address a transgender student only by the name and sex cited on their birth certificate.

Representatives from the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union hosted a virtual news conference Wednesday to outline their opposition to bills targeting transgender Arkansans, including one that would ban transgender girls and women from playing in girls' and women's sports in schools.

Courtesy / ACLU Arkansas

Long-time legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union — Arkansas affiliate, Holly Dickson, has been selected to serve as executive director. Dickson assumes the positive during a global pandemic which ACLU declares is "laying bare the systemic oppression at the root of inequality in America." 

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