This week, Arkansas became the very first state in the United States to prohibit physicians from giving “gender-affirming treatments”, to transgender teenagers. This measure that is now a law is just one of the many bills that have been introduced by the Republican state lawmakers. Including Arkansas, more than twenty-eight state legislatures are assessing anti-transgender measures. The majority of these measures are targetting the rights of teens that are transgender or nonbinary. The establishment of these anti-transgender state bills is coming as the Biden administration tries to expand LGBTQ rights. The state measures briefly fall into two main categories where many of the bills aim at transgender girls to restrict them from competing in women’s athletic. This bill has been passed in three states so far which are Mississippi, Tennesse, and Arkansas. There are more than 24 other states that are considering the legislation as well. More than twelve other Bills are seeking to cage transgender children from getting gender-affirming care and sometimes even try to criminalize these treatments.
Gender Affirming treatments are treatments that can help transgender individuals to change their “physical characteristics” to align more closely with their own gender identity. Examples of these treatments may be redistributing body fat, the increase or decrease in certain body hair growth, deepening of voices, and more. These treatments are given out in many various forms such as hormone therapy and surgeries which could positively result in the mental health improvements of transgender individuals.
All though these problems have recently been brought up to the surface, the GOP focusing on transgender-related issues is not new. North Carolina’s notorious House Bill introduced between 2016 and 2018 required transgender individuals to use bathroom facilities that aligned with the sex on their birth certificate rather than what they identify as. North Carolina is also a location of the most recent and possibly the most extreme anti-transgender bills that have been brought up. This week, the state introduced a measure that says the physicians that perform gender-affirming treatment on anyone under twenty-one years old, including surgeries or hormone treatment, will be punished by losing their medical license or being fined.
Due to these bills and stereotypes putting negative feelings to the concept of transgender, the young teenagers of the transgender and nonbinary community are going through an increase of mental health issues. According to a survey from the year 2020, more than 50% of the transgender youth population has seriously thought of committing suicide in the past year. They are also standing up for themselves for they are vocally opposing the recent bills.