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Families seek to leave states banning health care for transgender children


At 1 a.m. the day after the Arkansas State Senate overturned Governor Asa Hutchinson’s veto (right) on a bill to ban sex-affirming care for transgender children, the Spurrier family opened a GoFundMe so they could leave the state.

Why is this important: The Spurriers believe leaving their 16-year-old home is the only way to protect their transgender son. More than 80 bills targeting trans children have been introduced so far this year.

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What they say: Emily and George, who have worked to support their 17-year-old transgender son, Cas since his release in 2019, say they feel cornered.

  • “It was like so good, the monster was coming towards you. You see the tentacles, ‘okay I can beat the tentacles’ but then the head comes out and now you realize the beast you’re dealing with, “Emily said.” In this fight or flight scenario, I feel like this point i want to choose the flight because it is difficult to fight against a brick wall. “

  • Case Said the bills make it feel like lawmakers say they don’t want it to exist. “I shouldn’t have to justify the fact that I’m a normal person.”

Although Cas is 17 – about to be hit by Arkansas’ bill banning transitional health care for minors – parents say their move is motivated by a desire to escape the global anti -trans.

Emily emailed Hutchinson on April 5, thanking him for vetoing the bill that was ultimately pushed by the state legislature. “To us that meant everything,” she wrote.

  • Emily told Axios that she had not received a response to the email. Hutchinson’s office did not return requests for comment. When asked in an interview with NPR last month what he would say to trans minors and their parents, the governor replied, “Well, I’m sorry.”

Data: ACLU; Graphics: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

The big picture: Bills targeting trans children were introduced this year by legislatures in predominantly Republican states.

  • 7 sports-focused bills passed in Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, and West Virginia, along with Arkansas health care bill. South Dakota’s bill banning trans girls from female sports was passed by executive order.

  • Nine bills in five states, mostly focused on healthcare, failed. Another 72 bills on trans youth are still under consideration.

The Spurriers are not alone. Amy Allen, mother of trans son in Tennessee, said on a human rights campaign call with reporters last week that her family had “spoken seriously” about leaving the state .

  • Amber Briggle from Texas told NBC News that if the state passed a bill that made it a crime for parents to provide gender-based care to their children, she would consider moving. “It would be really complicated for us, but it’s definitely not out of the question,” she said. “My son always comes first.”

  • “My black trans girl here in Arkansas will certainly be a part of that fallout, ”Jasmine Banks said on the HRC call. We know that Blacks and Maroons already have difficulty accessing medical care. “

The bottom line: LGBTQ advocates, including HRC President Alphonso David, tell Axios bills are a threat to trans children, even if they are not accepted.

  • “What if we pass a law that says you don’t exist?” David asked. “And if you don’t like it, you can just move on? That’s not the way this country works. We have a democracy and a Constitution.”

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