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Yet Another Bathroom Bill

Arkansas is at it again with the most recent anti-LGBTQ+ bills being proposed. It's almost as though there is a bingo card filled with every awful bill you can think up, bonus points if the reasoning behind it is flawed, and Arkansas is doing everything in their power to yell "Bingo!".

SB270 is legislation that would impose criminal penalties on transgender people for using a bathroom or locker room consistent with their gender identity. Of course, Arkansas is not special when it comes to these discriminatory bills.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, "Three months into 2023, HRC is already tracking more than 410 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have been introduced in statehouses across the country. More than 175 of those would specifically restrict the rights of transgender people, the highest number of bills targeting transgender people in a single year to date."

It seems as if the Arkansas legislature has an agenda. One that is squarely focused on playing politics instead of helping the constituents they serve. Even SB270's sponsor, Republican Sen. John Payton, said, “I just don’t see this as being the bill that stops people from going into the wrong bathroom,” Payton said before the vote. “Hopefully it just limits it to when children are present.” Yeah, read that last sentence again.

It sounds as if bathroom surveillance is encouraged before going in to make sure no minors are in there. Sounds sufficiently creepy. What if one were to walk in and discover a minor in there, do they turn and run? That's awkward. How does one prove whether or not someone "knowingly" entered when a child is present? Matter of fact, how do you even know whether or not someone is a minor just by looking? People do not always present as their age, let alone present as their assigned gender. Also, how does one even prove someone is trans? I guess I see a few holes to the logic of this one. No surprise there.

Personally, I have been mistaken for a boy most of my life. Why? Mostly because of my hair. Sometimes I chose to have it cut short, other times it was because the chemotherapy caused it to fall out leaving a buzzed cut look remaining.

This bill raises more questions than problems it addresses.

Our trans brothers and sisters in Arkansas deserve better. Time after time we, as a state, let them down and humiliate ourselves in the process. For a party centered on smaller government they sure are injecting their government into Arkansans lives as often as possible.

SB270 was approved by the majority-Republican Senate on a 19-7 vote. It has also been designated as one of the most hostile anti-trans bills in the country, according to ACLU of Arkansas. Other bills to be aware of:

  • SB199: a bill that would allow a person who received a “gender transition procedure” as a minor to sue the health professional who performed the procedure.

  • HB1468 requires public schools to allow their employees to intentionally misgender individual students and colleagues, but only if they are transgender.

  • HB1156: requires public school students to use bathrooms and changing facilities corresponding to their sex assigned at birth.


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