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Arkansas Governor Vetoes Bill That Would’ve Banned Gender-Affirming Care for Trans Youth

The veto now faces a potential override by the state legislature.

WASHINGTON, DC — The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people, released the following statement in response to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s announcement that he will veto HB 1570, which would criminalize the provision of best-practice, gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary youth:

“This is a huge victory for the transgender and nonbinary youth of Arkansas. Thank you to Governor Hutchinson for doing the right thing by rejecting this dangerous bill — the Arkansas state legislature should follow his lead in acknowledging the mental health risks of this bill and let the veto stand,” said Sam Brinton (they/them pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “We hope this action sends a message to other lawmakers across the country considering similar bans on gender-affirming medical care, which would only work to endanger young trans lives. While they’re at it, we’d also urge Arkansas to reconsider its misguided ban on trans student-athletes.”

Over the last year, The Trevor Project has supported over 850 crisis contacts in Arkansas. As troubling as that is, that’s less than 6% of the number of Arkansas’s LGBTQ youth who we estimate to be in crisis and could benefit from our services.

According to The Trevor Project’s 2020 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health, more than half (52%) of transgender and nonbinary youth seriously considered suicide in the past year, compared to 40% of all LGBTQ youth respondents. Research demonstrates that gender-affirming social, medical, and legal interventions for transgender and nonbinary youth have positive effects on mental health and overall well-being while decreasing depressive symptoms and suicidality.

If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project's TrevorLifeline 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available 24/7 via chat every day at TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678-678.

About The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the world's largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifelineTrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide. If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, our trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386 via chat www.TheTrevorProject.org/Help, or by texting START to 678-678.