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Arkansas Legislators Advance Dangerous Anti-Transgender Bills

Research indicates that denying trans patients this best-practice care would be life-threatening.

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, condemned the Arkansas House of Representatives yesterday for passing the so-called “Arkansas Save Adolescents From Experimentation Act” (HB 1570), which would criminalize the provision of best-practice, gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary youth. Later that day, the Arkansas Senate passed SB354, which would restrict transgender athletes from participating in school sports.

“Referring to best-practice medical care as ‘experimentation’ is devoid of logic and reality — and denying it would jeopardize young lives in Arkansas. The science, research, and academic communities agree that gender-affirming care produces positive mental health outcomes and reduces suicide risk,” said Sam Brinton (they/them pronouns), Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. “When you actually take the time to listen to transgender and nonbinary youth, as The Trevor Project’s crisis counselors do every day, it becomes abundantly clear how essential affirmative care is to their health and well-being. Medical professionals should decide what care is in the best interest of a patient, not partisan politicians.” 

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.