Arkansas Becomes Newest State to Ban Transgender People From School Bathrooms Matching Their Gender Choice

Sarah Huckabee Sanders has become the latest conservative GOP governor to sign legislation limiting the rights of transgender people.Getty

Arkansas becomes the latest state to prohibit transgender people from using school bathrooms matching their gender identification.

Arkansas has become the latest state to ban transgender people from school bathrooms that do not match the sex listed on their birth certificates, as a flood of Republican-led legislatures seek to curtail the rights of LGBTQ+ communities.

Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders recently signed a bill, passed earlier this month, which targets restrooms, locker rooms and showers at public schools. It allows teachers, superintendents and principals to be fined at least $1,000 for failing to comply with the transgender ban.

The new law covers pre-K through 12th grade and takes effect this summer, according to the governor's office.

“The governor has said she will sign laws that focus on protecting and educating our kids, not indoctrinating them and believes our schools are no place for the radical left’s woke agenda,” said Alexa Henning, the governor's spokesperson.  “Arkansas isn’t going to rewrite the rules of biology just to please a handful of far-left advocates.”

The state now joins Alabama, Oklahoma and Tennessee in targeting trans people at public schools.

Republican state Rep. Mary Bentley, who sponsored the bill, posted on Facebook that the legislation is “how we restore our biblical values in our Nation."

More than 24 bathroom bills are being considered in 17 states, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest advocacy group for LGBTQ+ rights.

"This law will harm Arkansas transgender youth. This is another despicable effort by extremist politicians to alienate kids who are just trying to navigate their childhoods," the organization said in a statement on its website.

The group said it is monitoring more than 80 bills that would censure curriculums and 35 bills that would ban drag performances. 

"Transgender youth are denied their right to a public education when they’re prevented from accessing restroom facilities consistent with their gender identity," the organization said. So-called “bathroom bills” violate the Constitution, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

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